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Monday, 12 November 2018

I wonder all the time, why worry..?



I'm always being told that I should worry about things less. Whilst on the surface I can give a fairly good impression of having my shit together, I'll admit that I do worry about pretty much everything.

I'd just like to point out here that I'm talking about low-level worrying, and nothing serious enough that I would consider falls under the term "anxiety". I've never mentioned this to the doctors and am not in anyway suggesting that what I experience is anything like what I'm sure a lot of people have to live with. It's sad that I have to even mention this, but it gets tiresome reading people's complaints about "competitive illness" and that's something I don't want to get into.

Some examples: Aside from work, money and the other usual suspects, I worry a lot about people I know and love - if I haven't heard from them or they're supposed to be meeting me and they're late, I run through all of the gruesome possible ways in which they may have met their demise; I worry about what the best choices are for our future; whether and when we should have children; whether the chickens are okay; politics and the future of our country; why the tortoise hasn't eaten as much today as usual; that a friend I've forgotten to reply to will take offence and no longer speak to me; etc etc etc. Honestly, they range from silly, trivial things right through to huge issues which I couldn't have an effect on if I tried. And it's maddening. However much I try to switch off, it's nigh on impossible.

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I'm not sure what the solution is. I've taken to writing things down - I've always been someone who has found writing to be something of a release. I used to write in a diary every day; it's a tradition I started without fail, every New Year's Day. I'd usually make it to about June before giving up. Sooner if I actually had to go somewhere, as I used to like to leave my diary in the safety of my own room. Once I fell behind with it, that became another thing to worry about. Ugh. But, it did help a little, for those first few months of the year. 

I've also always been a bit of a list-writer and I do find that a decent To Do list can help with worrying about forgetting things, or getting everything done. So much so, in fact, that I've dedicated one of the kitchen walls to be a chalkboard, so that we can have plans and lists drawn up on there constantly. 

Do you have any tips for dealing with the worries? 

Friday, 9 November 2018

Friday Favourites 293..




This week I've managed to swing it so that I've had a couple of full evenings at home, which has meant that I've managed to get on with some of the list of things on the house to-do list. Cleairng out, unpacking boxes, organising cupboards and storage and repainting furtniture which has been gifted to us, all of which has given me chance to think about the things I would still like to acquire as finishing touches to some of the rooms. 
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001: These beautiful chairs aren't yet available but are the stuff of dreams. We've decided on our sofa, when we get onto the living room decor, but I'd like a little armchair in a contrasting colour and texture and this would be perfect. 

002: I know I've mentioned them before, but I think I probably dream about these clocks every night, lately. I'd absolutely love one and have been saving up my clothes sale profits in the hope that I'll be able to afford one someday. I'd put it on the living room wall, where it would be seen by everyone. 

003: These salad servers would look perfect on our new dining table, which we picked up for a total song from eBay last weekend. 

004: I have a little cloud pendant lamp in our bedroom, which I love and am planning pale blue walls when we get around to repainting in there. I think these shelves would look lovely on the wall by the window, to hold little keepsakes. 

005: These are actually little hooks, not chairs. I think they'd look great by the front door in the hallway, where they could be used mostly for show, but also for guests' coats when we have visitors.

006: I've been looking for an alternative to the hideous lampshade on one of the landing lights - they're a little bit oddly distributed, but I think that the fact this pendant is glass would mean the light would carry further. Is that a thing?! 

007: We've got a whole family of visitors staying in a couple of weeks' time and I have to get the little spare room hastily looking a little more kid-friendly, but don't think we will have time to actually hang any wallpaper there for the time being. I figured that this rug would be a nice addition - not overly childish, but would add a little whimsy to an otherwise fairly plain and dull room. 

008: I spied this jug in store when I was in Paris a few months ago, but had worries about getting it home in one piece. I'm hoping it will still be around in the sale. Isn't it awesome?!

009: I was actually meant to be looking for some bedding suitable for the single spare room, but got distracted by the fact that I don't have any festive bedding for our bed. It sucks that I no longer have any need for my old double-sized bedding, but this deer print is super cute.

Ahh, so many things. 

Thursday, 8 November 2018

#bloggersecretsanta 2018 update

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Just a little reminder that sign-ups for this year's Blogger Secret Santa close today. I'll be sending out emails with details of your recipient tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Paris: Musée du Parfum

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I mentioned that we had one day in our Paris trip where the plans went a little bit off-course as a result of us not doing our research on Paris museum opening times properly. We spent a morning at the botanical gardens, which was great. As it neared lunchtime, the weather was taking a turn for the worse so we headed back to the metro and back into the city centre. 

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After a ridiculously expensive street cafe for lunch (it began to rain somewhat biblical proportions, so we dived into the first place we spotted!) we carried on down towards Opera and to our next stop: the museum of perfume. 

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Situated in part of the building which houses Frangonard, a French perfume company who I must admit I hadn't heard of before, the museum is free to visit and there are regular guided tours in several languages. We hadn't booked places but when we arrived we were pleased to find that there was an English-speaking tour leaving in ten minutes. 

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The tour guide took us downstairs into the depths of the basement for the start of the tour and explained that the building we were in used to be a theatre, and before that a bicycle school, where women would learn to ride a bicycle. 

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The main floor now houses a large still, which is used in perfume blending, and plenty of other displays of historical bottles and designs, as well as lots of information. The desk above, surrounded by tiered bottles, we were told is a traditional perfumier set-up, where they would blend scents using the base notes, middle and top notes. 

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We spent a good while perusing the various displays and it was lovely to have such a relaxed tour. There were other groups also on tours around the museum but at no point did we feel rushed and we were left for some time in each room to take photos and take all of the information in. 

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Once back upstairs we were able to have a go at matching some of the most commonly used scents to their labels, and to have a go at deciding which scents complement one another. After that, we went back into the factory shop section of the building and were able to try smelling some of the Fragonard scents. 

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At this point we did get a bit of a sales pitch, where the staff were really pushing sales of small gold bottles of their scent in giftboxes, at a reduced price. For some reason they weren't able to sell single bottles at these deal prices, which meant that we didn't end up buying anyway even though we'd have been quite happy to. I later looked for the scents we liked best in shops whilst we were still in Paris but couldn't find them. 

All in all, I would recommend this to anyone who's interested in the perfume process. 

Friday, 2 November 2018

Friday Favourites 292..



I'm not sure what happens but each year it seems as though once Halloween is out of the way and we can stop posting pictures of pumpkin patches, suddenly the world flicks a switch and it's Christmas. 
As I'm a bit of a Scrooge anyway, I'm not wild about the thought of listening to piped festive music for the next couple of months. 

In a fit to be a little more organised and also to avoid some of the festive mayhem, I've decided to try and get as much of my Christmas shopping done online, so this week's wishlist is a little different- it's a collection of the things I'm picking out for presents, rather than just for me. 


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So, I see Christmas as an opportunity to share my love of shoes with other people - they're something everyone needs, so they make a great present. Right?

001: These are one of the designs from the new Irregular Choice x Disney collaboration and my little sister would die for them. She loves the movie and would be super stoked with all of the colours on this.

002: If I were looking to get her something more practical, I'd have to go with these boots. Flat, lace ups and comfortable without being too unexciting due to the animal print, these would be perfect for her walks to college etc.

003: Not a pair of shoes, I know, but I like that this bag is not just nice to look at, but practical too. One of my gift recipients is a new mum, so I know she likes bags which can carry all of her baby essentials. This could be the perfect pick.

004: My mum has always been the ankle boot queen, and I love to track down new and different brands for her. I love the detail on these leopard print shoe boots and think she'd love them.

005: Although she doesn't really share my Irregular Choice addiction, I think I could persuade her with these pretty Abigail's Party boots..

006 // 007 // 008: With a growing collection of nieces and nephews to buy presents for, I got sooooo excited when I discovered these baby shoes. Obviously the dinosaurs are my favourite, but I can see them loving Super Bunny, too. And I think the rabbit boots would work for a toddler who takes after me with her love of pretty shoes...I'm definitely encouraging this.

009: Can't forget the OH. He's tricky to buy for as he knows what he likes when it comes to shoes, but I think these boots could be a solid contender.

How do you shop for other people? I think my favourite part of Christmas is finding presents that I know my loved ones will appreciate.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Paris: Jardin des serres d'Auteuil


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After the wordiest post yesterday, I thought it was high time I shared some more Paris pictures. Another throwback post, I'm afraid, as it's been a while since I did anything photo-worthy.

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 Although we had a bit of a list of things we wanted to do whilst in Paris, that never quite made it into an itinerary. Which isn't a problem until you come to decide you'll do all the museums you want to tomorrow, and then Google informs you that museums close on Tuesdays. Back to the drawing board we went.

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After a little research and checking out some of the guide books which our AirBnB host had kindly left for us, we settled on a day of firsts, picking one destination each to visit. First stop of the day took us further out on the Metro than I'd been before, as we headed for Jardin des serres d'Auteuil.

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A short walk from Subway - Porte d'Auteuil we hadn't been sure what to expect and the weather looked as though it was about to take a turn for the worse, as a few rainclouds gathered overhead. We weren't sure that we would be staying here for long, but as soon as we turned into the main gates, we were a little bit spellbound. The selection of plants and the mixture of different leaves and flowers, with differing colour schemes across various borders and areas of the garden gave us so much to look at, that immediately we knew that the botanical gardens had been a good choice for our first stop of the day.

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Dating back to the late 1700s, the Jadrins des serres d'Auteuil are one of the four botanical gardens which are looked after by the City of Paris. They're beautifully maintained and are open daily between 8-6pm for most of the year with a few exceptions, which are detailed on the website.

My eyes were drawn immediately to the glasshouses. They weren't built until much later - 19th century architecture still going strong - but they're just amazing. I'm a little bit obsessed with greenhouses and the colour and design of these is probably the best I've ever seen. Although there was one which wasn't accessible, the majority are open to the public and it's completely free of charge to visit and explore the gardens.

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Each glasshouse has a theme and a type of plant, and it was amazing to see all of the different specimens grown, all fully labelled with lots of information (although mostly in French so this did test my translation skills a little!) As you get further into the gardens, one of the houses even has an aviary with a selection of pretty birds, and a pool with plenty of huge fish swimming around and it was so relaxing to watch them in such tranquil surroundings, despite being only moments away from the busy ring-roads around the city!

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One of my favourite things, hands down, was the existence of these amazing ant planters on the main lawn. Seriously, though. How coo are these and where can I get one?!



Wednesday, 31 October 2018

I do...n't.



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 The past few months have been peppered with big, exciting life events - both mine and those of some of the people close to me, and it's so easy to fall into that trap of thinking that the traditional life goals imposed on us by antiquated societal norms are the only way to go. Weddings, baby showers, christenings; they're all perfectly good ways to mark milestones in your life should you so choose, but I don't think they're necessarily any guarantee of emotional contentment. 

I've known plenty of people who got married and ended up leaving their marriage because it turned out that a marriage certificate doesn't act as a relationship bandage. I also know people who have cohabited,  some of whom have raised children and been a perfectly happy family unit without feeling the need to arrange a wedding. I'm aware that there are perfectly valid arguments both for and against the concept of marriage, and that what's right for one person isn't necessarily right for another.

Personally, I have never felt any desire to get married. Even from a really young pre-school age (before the Let Toys Be Toys generation, where visiting your aged relatives would result in being showered with faux vacuum cleaners, ironing boards and doll prams to entertain your visits). One of the options in the dressing up box was an old lace curtain, which was used by my sister as a bridal veil. I'd always opt for the floaty vintage nightgown instead and be the bridesmaid, or the vicar, or the horse to pull the carriage. Ageing relatives used to try and reassure me: "You'll change your mind one day." I guess they were wrong.

As someone who shuns religion, a wedding would feel hypocritical, if nothing else. I would not be able to bring myself to spend the kind of money people brag about their weddings costing, on a day full of stress and anxiety. I can't think of anything much worse than being the centre of attention on a regular day, and I figure those feelings would be heightened tenfold.

Over the years, I've lost count of the number of times I've been told that when I meet the right person, I'll change my mind. I don't know how one is supposed to know right from wrong people, but as someone who is part of a committed-enough relationship to have joint life insurance policies and share a mortgage, I don't quite see how standing up and repeating vows would change the way we feel. Or act as proof of how committed we may be. I don't feel the need to validate my relationship by getting married, but I've lost count of the number of people who, since picking up the keys to our new home, have inferred that we're doing things in The Wrong Order.  

Having said that, I know that some people consider that the first part of showing their commitment to someone else is to marry them. Some people I've asked told me that they couldn't consider entering into something like buying a house without first having made a solid commitment to their partner. For us, that wasn't really a consideration, but I appreciate that priorities differ from one relationship to the next.

I have to admit, I'm becoming pretty au fait with having to rebuff hints from well-meaning family members. I mean, if it's not questions to do with when we are planning children (a topic for another day, but just note that it is NEVER your place to comment on someone else's decision on whether to procreate or not..), someone will say something like "so, when will we be getting the save the dates?" or "how can you consider yourselves a family unit if you don't share the same name?!". Christmas dinners seem to have become bingo games to me, these days. 

I know that some people consider their family unit to be more complete if they're married and they share the same family name. I don't really have any particular thoughts on surnames. Perhaps that would be something I'd feel differently about if we did have children. If I were ever interested in getting married, keeping my surname wouldn't be something which I'd consider a deal-breaker. I'm not particularly attached to that and wouldn't be interested in a shared name or a hyphen.

For a society which is so progressive in so many other ways, it just feels a little backward to me that we rest *so* much on this antiquated tradition. Why is marriage still seen as the correct choice, when according to recent stats from the ONS, around 42% of marriages end in divorce. Certainly, of the small number of weddings I've attended, more than half of those had broken down within the first few years. Do people enter into it more quickly than they did in the past? Or is vowing to stay together forever not considered as important as it once was? I know that previous generations didn't seem to consider divorce as readily as our society does, perhaps because they didn't see another option. 

I asked for other people's opinions on marriage too and have had a mixed bag of thoughts. For some, the religious aspect of marriage is off-putting, but the recent Civil Partnerships Bill could, if it progresses through the House of Lords and becomes part of the legislation, be an alternative for those wishing for more legal recognition of their relationship. Perhaps that would be a possibility worth considering. Where people have married in the past because it made more financial sense than drawing up legal paperwork to give powers of attorney, this could provide a solution. 

For some, the things which scare me the most (big parties surrounded by family and friends and having to be the centre of it all) are the main selling points. It's funny how we can all be so different. I'd just like to underline that this is an opinion piece and that I am in no way judging anyone for their views or beliefs, however they may differ from my own. I'm going to leave this here as I realise this is becoming super long. so have yourself a cookie if you made it to the end and please feel free to share your thoughts with me. (Feel free to do that by DM or email or to keep your comment anon if you'd prefer). 

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Tuesday Titles 165..

Other Mrs Bridgerton
The Other Miss Bridgerton: Julia Quinn
Described by some as a modern-day Georgette Heyer, so far I haven't found a Julia Quinn book I didn't enjoy. This one is no exception. 

She was in the wrong place...
Fiercely independent and adventurous, Poppy Bridgertonwill only wed a suitor whose keen intellect and interests match her own. Sadly, none of the fools from her London season qualify. While visiting a friend on the Dorset coast, Poppy is pleasantly surprised to discover a smugglers' hideaway tucked inside a cave. But her delight turns to dismay when two pirates kidnap her and take her aboard a ship, leaving her bound and gagged on the captain's bed...
He found her at the wrong time...
Known to society as a rascal and reckless privateer, Captain Andrew James Rokesby actually transports essential goods and documents for the British government. Setting sail on a time-sensitive voyage to Portugal, he's stunned to find a woman waiting for him in his cabin. Surely, his imagination is getting the better of him. But no, she is very real-and his duty to the Crown means he's stuck with her.
Can two wrongs make the most perfect right?
When Andrew learns that she is a Bridgerton, he knows he will likely have to wed her to avert a scandal-though Poppy has no idea that he is the son of an earl and neighbor to her aristocratic cousins in Kent. On the high seas, their war of words soon gives way to an intoxicating passion. But when Andrew's secret is revealed, will his declaration of love be enough to capture her heart...?

Definitely a book to curl up with under a blanket on the sofa if you fancy an enjoyable mix of historical romance and comedy. Plus, pirates! This is out on 20th November if you fancy a feel-good read, perhaps to snuggle up with over the festive period. 

Friday, 19 October 2018

Friday Favourites 291..

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This week, although I've been short on spare time at home, I've made a little more progress with unpacking some of the remaining boxes and we've found a dining table and chairs, which we'll be off to collect soon. I must admit, I've been feeling a little blue about it all lately, as progress is slower than I'd expected, and I feel as though I can't get visit friends at weekends because I *should* be staying home to work on the house, but it's not ready enough to invite people over. So I feel sad because I'm missing friends, I guess. 

Hopefully, the dining room will at least be usable once we get some furniture in there, which should mean that we'll be able to entertain friends for dinner. And that got me thinking about other things we might need to finish off that room. 

This week's finds have all come from Oliver Bonas, where I always go to drool over the pretty homewares. I''ve also got my eye on some of their furniture, which I know I've mentioned previously.

001: I love a mirror to give a room more light and since our dining room is at the back of the house, it doesn't get a lot of natural light. This shape makes me happy.

002: I also love colourful and quirky tableware so these spoons would be a welcome addition to my cutlery drawer. 

003: I'm becoming a bit of a mug ninja lately, which basically means that I buy new mugs rather often and try to sneak them into the mug cupboard in the kitchen and into everyday use without being noticed. Most of the time it works. I love this mug, although kind of wonder if it might fall over, due to the shape of the base..?

004: A pretty glass bowl would make a lovely centrepiece, filled with fruit, or pine cones, perhaps?

005: Absolutely love this little side table. The shape, the mesh and the contrast between that and the top, which is a lovely shade of olive green, which would go with the rest of the decor. 

How do you make home decor decisions? It's so tricky!

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Let's got to the movies, let's go see the stars..

I must admit, although my heart will always belong to the summer months, I do enjoy this time of year. When the seasons are changing and the nights are beginning to draw in. It makes me feel all happy to be getting the coats out of storage and layering up in scarves and hats. 

The other thing I love to do when the Autumn nights draw in is take myself off to my local cinema for a mocha and a movie. I'm really lucky that my friends buy me theatre membership each year, which also extends to my local indie picture-house, which gets me a lovely discount on tickets and treats from the cafe. Set in a lovely old building which used to be the town market hall, it's always warm and cosy and I love the option to take in a G+T or a coffee to settle down and watch a movie. Here are a couple of things I've seen recently:

The Escape

When I booked it, all I knew about The Escape was that it was about a lady who was sad and ran away to Paris. I mean, so far so relatable in my opinion. Tara, the central character, is surrounded by all of the things humans have been programmed to think are good in life: a good husband, two doting kids, a nice house and the chance to be a stay-at-home-mum. But she is feeling lost and seems to be drowning in confusion and discontent. It was almost painful to watch her struggle with this, and the sense of relief when she finally found the strength to make that escape. 
Sometimes I think that people worry too much about whether they can like or relate to a character in a movie. I found probably everyone in this film a fairly frustrating bundle of hypocrites, but that to me made the struggle of emotions all the more real. People's lives are never as perfect as one thinks and to see a very realistic representation of day-to-day unhappiness in a marriage which isn't headline-worthy or abusive was a fresh new take on this and something I was pleased to see portrayed. 

The Seagiull

Another wonderfully raw emotional movie. Based on Chekov's play of the same name, at least I knew what to expect from this. So much sadness. So much unrequited love. I think that everyone in this movie is in love with someone who doesn't love them. Apart from Sorin, who tells us has spent his life sad because he never managed to find love or become a writer. 

Centred on a kind of messy love triangle - or should that be love square?! - between "famous" writer Boris, his actress lady-friend Irina and the startstuck Nina (who also happens also to be the girlfriend of Irina's son, Constantin). 

Again, the movie is full of sadness but in an altogether more watchable and entertaining way. There is also humour here - the household's reactions to the hateful Irina's narcissism, for one thing. I felt a little more empathy watching this movie, although not a huge amount if I'm honest. All of the characters are using one another and I guess that should make me like them less, but what is that if not an accurate representation of life..? 

Hmm, turns out I'm fairly drawn to sad movies. But I'll maintain that curling up in the warm for an evening at the cinema (in my favourite seat - I have a regular seat!) is one of my favourite autumnal pasttimes. 

Seen anything good lately?

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

#bloggersecretsanta 2018

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How can it be that time again? I'm sure I say this every year. I'm running my annual #bloggersecretsanta parcel swap again this year. It's so weird because I'm such Scrooge and yet I really look forward to this little spreadsheeting and snail mailing task. 


So, if you'd like to take part this year, here's what you need to email or message me with. (Email address is in the sidebar):

  • Your name
  • Your blog / Twitter / Instragram (any or all)
  • Your postal address for a parcel
  • Any likes/ dislikes or things your sender should know about you (allergies etc)

That's all I need, really. Please sign up by 8th November, and I'll pair everyone up using the info you've sent. You won't be sending to the same person you receive a gift from (this works more like a chain) so it's up to you whether you want to reveal your identity to your recipient or not...

I'll send out your partner's details and you'll have a few weeks to take a look at their blogs / social media and put together a parcel. The spend limit for that is £10, not including postage. Then, post your parcel by 14th December, and let me know when you've posted and when you've received a parcel. Couldn't be simpler!

Get in touch if you have any questions. Open to international senders, as always!  (If you're posting internationally, you might need to send it a little earlier than the 14th of December!)

For anyone wondering about GDPR: Please note that I only use your address information to tell your sender where to post to. Unfortunately this can't really be avoided if your sender is to be a secret. I delete all information after the swap has happened and will only use your email address to send you information about your recipient, and to keep you updated with any delays or information. In signing up to this swap, you are giving your consent to my using of your personal data for the execution of this swap. <-- This does mean that if you have signed up in the past, I'm afraid you'll need to send me your details again, as I no longer hold any of them.

Any questions, don't hesitate to contact me!

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Tuesday Titles 164..

One in a Million
One in a Million: Lindsey Kelk
Another Tuesday - they're rolling around so quickly, lately. I'm feeling a little snowed under at the moment and like a bit of a bad friend as I've been struggling to keep up with everyone. Ugh.

Anyhow, I've been trying hard to make time for reading, even if it's just by leaving my phone outside of my bedroom or downstairs, to stop me messing on apps before bed (even though there seems to be a bit of a Plants vs. Zombies tournament going on in my house at the moment), and reading instead. Even that half hour or so has made such a difference and I'm working my way through so many books on my Kindle. 

This week, I've read One in a Million. Annie Higgins has a start-up social media company and is determined to make it a success. She makes a bet with another company in her building that she can't make the next person to walk through the door "insta-famous" within the next thirty days. So far, so She's All That, no? 

Naturally, the victim of the bet is the most uncool, social-media shunning academic, who also happens to work in their building. Annie is not deterred and peppering every conversation with references to social media stars and current trends, she sets aside time in her working week to focus on winning this bet. 

The book is a funny, light-hearted look at modern day technologies versus traditional values and how they could work should they come together. There are so many references to Zoella, iPads and Buzzfeed that I think this book might stay in the twenty-teens, but it was an enjoyable read nonetheless. 

Friday, 12 October 2018

Friday Favourites 290..

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Well, that little heatwave was over quickly, wasn't it? We now seem to be in the stormy throes of Storm Callum, I think this one's called. Which has gotten me thinking about layering up for Autumn as my usual dress / cardigan combination just doesn't seem to be cutting it. 

001: I'd actually found this dress entirely by chance. The other day I was in Sainsbury's and noticed a rather lovely looking green pinafore dress, with some floral embroidery at the top. I'd planned to share that on this week's wishlist but it doesn't seem to be on the website, so in looking for something similar, I got all heart-eyes over this. I love velvet. And everything bottle green for the colder weather. And that collar. Winner!

002: This Joanie jumper couldn't be any more perfect for me if it tried, really. Pink *and* dinosaurs?! What could be better? I'd layer it up with a pinafore or over a dress and some tights as the weather got colder.

003: These Clarks shoes seem to be the same shape and style as those classic Orla Kiely Bibis, which I have in a couple of colours. A very comfortable day to day shoe if you can get used to almost-flats. I love the metallic silver leather and the fact that they'd go nicely with colourful or textured tights.

004: A much more purse-friendly version of the Kate Spade dinosaur keyring from a couple of seasons ago. This little guy comes in metallic mint green and has the same articulated hand and leg detail. Super cute addition to any bags and I think I need one to replace the dino bag charm which I lost en route to Paris - that'll teach me not to remove things when I check my luggage in!

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

The bells, the bells..

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About a month ago, I spent a few days in Paris. I'd definitely say it's up there with my favourite places to visit, and no matter how many times I do so, there's always something new to do or see. Whilst we were there this time predominantly for touristing, and that did mean that I did a few things which I'd done before, visited things I'd already seen and showed off my favourite sights, I was also pleased to be able to experience some new places myself.

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Near the top of our to-do list was to visit Notre Dame, as we had both seen it from the outside but never ventured through the doors. I did a little research before we visited in the hope that we could book advance tickets, since it always seems so busy out front, but to no avail. The cathedral itself is free to enter and open to the public almost all day (except for Sundays when they have church services and visitor numbers can be limited). You queue for security and bag checks, but after that are free to roam, with the option to pay to enter the treasury room (we didn't).

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Since I'm not a religious person, I appreciated the building for it's architecture, but have to admit I was most interested in scaling the towers. Getting tickets for these is pretty straightforward, although they are only bookable on the day of visit. You have to either download an app, which holds your place in the queue and alerts you when you're 20mins away from your time-slot (these seem to be every ten minutes or so), or you fill in your details on one of the computer screens by the queue and choose a time slot. Again, this can text you to confirm you're next up, so you could go off and have a wander or find some breakfast (which is what we did whilst we waited). You can find more information about the tickets and process here

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Upon arriving at our time slot and making our way through security, we are led up into one of the towers and the first flight of stairs, where we wait in the ticket office / gift shop for the previous group to descend. This gives you time to buy tickets (and browse the shelves of tat should you so desire - I guess this is quite successful as they have a captive audience). I think we were there for about seven minutes in total. And then, more stairs.

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When you come out onto the roof, the view is quite lovely. Yes, I know, another Paris-from-the-rooftops opportunity, and it probably seems as though that's all I ever seem to do in Paris. See things from above. But, it was really quite amazing to be able to see the towers and their amazing detail up close. 

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Of course, the gargoyles were my favourite thing*. I have to admit that I didn't know they were all different - I thought they'd all be the same figure. But their expressions and all of the different animals and characters were amazing - I took so many photos. 

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*In fact, I assumed they were all called gargoyles, but actually, I we learned that the statues which are there for purely ornamental purposes are in fact chimera (usually taking the form of mythical creatures or birds). The term gargoyle is actually referring to the ornamental drainage spouts which are designed to protect the walls of the building from being damaged by rainwater. (See the sticky-out bits on the corners of the tower in the photo below). 

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Honestly, whatever their proper name might be, I think they're incredible. And it's kind of inspired me to watch that Disney movie, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I'd definitely recommend the towers as a place to see in Paris if you should find yourself there with a spare hour or so. Once you've climbed to the top, you're pretty much free to take things at your own pace - everything is caged in and we found it best to hang back a little as there were a lot of eager selfie-taking tourists in our group. 

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Tuesday Titles 163..

Silent Patient
The Silent Patient: Alex Michaelides


It's been a fair while since I sat down to start a book and didn't emerge until I'd finished it (well, except for getting more coffee) but I woke up pretty early Saturday morning and curled up in the armchair in the living room which gets the morning sun and read this week's book with no breaks..


Alicia lives a life most dream of. She lives in a house in one of the most desirable areas of London. She is a famous painter, and her husband, Gabriel, is an in-demand fashion photographer. Her life is perfect.

That is, until one evening when Gabriel returns late from a fashion shoot and Alicia shoots him five times and then never speaks another word.

Theo Faber, a forensic psychotherapist, has been consumed with the case for five years, and is the only person able to unravel the mystery of why.

The Silent Patient is a heart-stopping debut thriller about a woman's brutal and random act of violence against her husband - and the man obsessed with discovering why.


 I must admit that by about the end of the first chapter, I was hooked. Intrigued by Alicia, whose story is told through flashbacks to past events, through her diary entry and then later through her present day actions.

This is absolutely what I'd call a slow-burning psychological thriller and when all is finally revealed, you have one of those sharp-intake-of-breath moments. I really don't know how much more I can say without encroaching on the story itself, but the way the plot weaves together so seamlessly would probably make spiders jealous.

This one is due to be released 7th February 2019, so definitely pop it on a wishlist.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Friday Favourites 289..


Long time, no see. I have so many posts in my drafts section, but never seem to find a spare moment to finish them off and publish them. The internet arrives next week, so maybe then.

Anyway, let's talk about something I always manage to find time for - shopping suggestions for people. The other day I was asked for some suggestions for Autumn-friendly footwear, so I set off to Spartoo and have put together a few of my favourite options.

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Autumn colours to me are burgundys and mustards, with some dark shades of green thrown in for good measure. Anything reminiscent of the colours of the leaves changing, I suppose. Here are a few of my favourites, all from Irregular Choice, of course. 

001: I picked out these because of the mix of autumnal colours, paired with the bow and button detail to the side which gives them a little added interest.

002: I love that the metallic detail on these ankle boots - they make me think of Halloween, vampires and bats. 

003: These Miaow boots are such a classic style, They get released most seasons in different colourways and I think this shade of burgundy is perfect for frosty mornings. 

004: I know I've mentioned these before for myself, but the chunky heel make these planet boots both pretty and practical, in my opinion. 

005: These jewel tones, combined with the ribbon laces just give that decadent autumn/wintery vibe and I can see them teamed with a fur-collared coat and some leather gloves as the colder weather creeps in. 

006: The heel on these shoe boots is just amazing - the combination of glitter and the curved shape make it a winner. 

Do you have a favourite pair? Do you also turn to ankle boots in the colder weather?

Friday, 28 September 2018

Friday Favourites 288..

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001 // 002 // 003 // 004

Oh, this week has been a mixture of sneezes and tissues so far. I couldn't be more pleased that it's the weekend once again. 

I've been falling for all of the new and amazing autumn / winter collections this week and here are a few of my favourite things..

001: I find myself drawn to anything ski print, and love this new CK dress. Although, truth be told, I can't decide how flattering I think this shape is likely to be on me. 

002: We have a little bit of an obsession with the llama song of late, so anytime anyone sees anything with llamas on it, we get excited. I know these are technically alpacas, but...still awesome, no?!

003: Another week, another IC release which sees the fans pitted against one another, Hunger Games style, in the hope of securing some sparkly new shoes. These are my favourite Carousel design, although they were a web exclusive and sold out almost immediately. A girl can dream, hey?!

004: It's absolutely tights weather, once again. And I for one am excited about adding to my collection of coloured tights. These striped ones from Gipsy have that sports luxe feel going on. 

Saturday, 22 September 2018

Tour Montparnasse..


Finally, more Paris pictures. I've been meaning to upload these for a while but other things got in the way. Honestly, an inadvertent theme of our mini-break seemed to be "looking down on the city from the tops of tall buildings". Which, when I come to think of it, is something of a common theme for me in most places I visit. I guess I like being at the top of tall things. 

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Anyhow, rather than the most obvious tall tower in Paris (we'll get to that), I'd also booked us some tickets to ascend Tour Montparnasse. A relatively normal office building, which probably wouldn't look out of place in most cities, other than Paris whose surrounding buildings seem pretty low height. You can purchase tickets to go to the 56th floor, where there is a 360 degree viewing deck from which you can look out over the city. Also, you can then climb some more stairs up to the 59th floor - the top - where there's an open-air viewing platform and a champagne bar. 

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I'd bought our tickets online and went for the 48hour ones, which gives you the option to visit twice during a two day period. The tower is open until 10pm and it seemed like the perfect weather on Sunday evening to watch the sunset over the city. 

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I was surprised at how quiet it was up there, to be honest (in fact, I had the same thought on Satuday when we'd been there around lunchtime and were almost the only visitors. I guess the summer holiday rush was over, but even so, when you compare to the queues at the Eiffel Tower itself, I was amazed). We decided on a spot and set up our cameras, hoping for some lovely colourful sunset shots.

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Being wildly entertained by a couple of tourists next to us who were marvelling about "how clever" the sun was to know where to come up each morning and set each evening, we watched as the sun washed the skyline with it's fading rainbow colours and the lights began to switch on across the city. It's almost impossible to catch decent photos of this, but it was a sight to behold. 

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