Wednesday, 27 March 2019

3 things I'm loving at the moment..

A little list of things my eyes, ears and brain have happily devoured lately...


001: Things have been a little sparse for me lately in the podcast department, what with the addition of Netflix to my procrastination repertoire. But, with the addition of a new Fitbit which will store music or podcast files to listen to when I'm running, I've recently been on the lookout for something new.
And this is amazing. Alone: A Love Story is the brainchild of Michelle Parise, who talks about falling in love and then having the rug pulled out from underneath her happy Formica dining table, and how she begins to try and pick up the pieces. I love how she uses nicknames for everyone (I've always done this when talking about relationships) and her writing makes it easy to fall right into her story.


002: I went to see the long-awaited Captain Marvel a couple of weeks ago and it did not disappoint. I'm currently so excited for Avengers: Endgame and despite the news that it's going to have a more than three hour run-time, I'm still kinda hoping they'll run them both as a double-bill. 

I loved this movie though: so much great back-story for Fury and some great character development. I'm excited to see how Carol can help in the next instalment. 


003: One for the local folks: I went to the opening night preview of Frankenstein last night and it was so good. 
The Wightman theatre is a tiny venue which you'd easily miss (next to Carluccio's in the town square) but they have a great programme of theatre and jazz and it's such a versatile space. 
This adaptation of Shelley's gothic classic was performed by a relatively tiny cast, but that took nothing away from the show. If you're in the area, it's playing for the next week or so and you can find tickets here

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Tuesday Titles 169..

Tuesday again?! The one good thing about travelling is that I can use it as an excuse to read my way through just about as many books as possible. Here are a few which I managed to read en route to the chalet last week:

Hard PUshed

I'm not really sure what tempted me to agree to read this one, if I'm honest. As a non-parent, I can't say I've ever been super interested in midwifery or birth stories. Which is mostly what this is. Each chapter is broken down into an anecdotal account of Leah's interaction with a patient and their experience, with her continuing thoughts on all of the complicated feelings associated with her job as a mother and a midwife. 

Although there is of course some medical terminology, she does explain a lot of this with the addition of a helpful glossary and it's not off-putting. Naturally the sections about baby loss were pretty difficult reading for me, but if I'm looking for a silver lining, I'd say that it's almost refreshing to see a topic like that covered in a book whose main focus is the miracle of life and childbirth. 

Obviously, there were several references to the current crisis staffing levels of the NHS and it's failings, but the book didn't go into too much political territory, which I do think kept it more enjoyable than serious.

While you Sleep

I really liked the premise of this book. In typical psychological thriller style, a woman arrives at a tiny, lonely island in remote Scotland to get away from something. She isn't met with a very friendly reception from the locals, as it turns out the house she is renting has a rather unpretty history. So far, so textbook psych. thriller, right?! 

We have jumpy moments as weird things happen when she just wants some quiet time to focus on her art, and nosy locals who don't want to leave her alone. Throw into the mix some local legend, an old diary and some weirdly erroneous sex scenes, along with a wildly predictable twist and a largely improbable resolution, and there we have While You Sleep in a nutshell. I don't know what was lacking, but for some reason I found it hard to fully get into this book. I read to the last page and just kind of thought "oh, right". But, you might feel differently. 

Friends Like These

Friends Like These was definitely better. This one is a book which will have you always checking that you're sending that bitchy Facebook message to the intended recipient in the future. 
Lizzie, who has looked up her ex-colleague Becca online, fails to do just that and instead sends the message to Becca herself. 

Clearly I expected things to get interesting at this point, as Lizzie dealt with the consequences of her error. And interesting they were, to a point. I found that things got a little bit unrealistic at the point where the police got involved. Suddenly there seemed to be a bit of a shift from fairly plausible to rather improbable storyline, with a few little nuggets of information being thrown in to make the plot twists more believable. 

This definitely had promise, I just think it may have benefited from a little more research as it had all the feels of a debut novel. I was surprised to find that Sarah Alderson has a fairly extensive back catalogue, but will be looking up some previous titles in the hope that this was a one-off. 

Have you read anything you'd recommend lately? 

Monday, 25 March 2019

The importance of being idle..

You can always tell a Monday morning from as the office background noise is peppered with small talk about your weekend goings on. Days trips, weddings, DIY; everyone's been up to something. So, what if you don't have a lot to share? I often feel guilty if my weekend hasn't been very productive on paper. I think it's something to do with my perpetual internal guilt; my brain is constantly telling me I should be doing more. Always more. 

This weekend was a bit of a weird one. I spent Saturday morning working on the garden - we've built some raised beds which needed putting in place so there was a lot of digging, shifting and tidying to be done around the greenhouse, and I'm super excited to be getting back to growing things once again after an allotment hiatus. The windowsills are gradually being taken over by seedlings.

Then, we spent the afternoon / evening at a wedding. Which basically translates to me drinking gin and tonic and fielding *many* questions from friends and relatives of the couple about if and when we'd be getting married. If you're not up to speed with my thoughts on this, I've rambled about it here..

In comparison, yesterday was a bit of a write-off. I was home alone and did start the day by making myself a little to-do list. And knitting a sleeve of the cardigan I'd been hoping would be finished by the time I got back from holiday. Ah, holiday - that's another reason why internally I'm feeling guilty for needing a day of downtime. People shouldn't feel run down or exhausted when they've recently been away for a week of holiday for the first time in years...right?! Well, even if it's not right, that's what my brain is telling me. 


But, in the end, I sacked off the to-do list and just let myself have a day of doing....very little. I changed into fresh PJs, planted up some more seed trays, sorted out the shoe room shelves and muddled along with my knitting pattern, all with a little background noise in the form of various trashy Netflix movies for accompaniment. And, even if my brain didn't seem to be thanking me at the time, I'm fairly sure it was the best thing for it.

Ever find you need a day of just doing...nothing?

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Tuesday Titles 168..

A Little Life

I'm not sure what took me so long to get around to reading this. Probably everyone I know and ever talk books with over the past couple of years has recommended A Little Life to me. I was only reminded of this when I helped out at a guiding weekend away and the venue we stayed at had a second-hand bookshelf, with a copy of this sitting in the middle of the shelf. 

It took me a little while to get around to reading it, as I had a pile of festive fiction to get through over Christmas, but it was one of the first books I read in January, and turned out to be one of those books I just couldn't put down. I took it everywhere with me.

I don't know what it was but I was hooked by the end of the first chapter. Discovering more and more about the group of four friends who'd met during their college years and stayed friends; the book follows Willem, Jude, JB and Malcolm right through to middle age.

I think that stories to do with long-lasting friendship groups always manage to reel me in because I've always had this sense of longing to be in one of those. The friendship groups which stick with you for the rest of your life and see you through every good and bad time. I mean, I'm not saying I don't have friends- I'm very lucky to have a lot of wonderful ones, but I do find that they come and go. Anyway, I digress.

A Little Life centres on our protagonist, Jude, who is clearly hiding some suppressed childhood traumas along with various neurological and movement related issues. Even his closest friends realise at one point that they have no idea about his background. But they stick by him nonetheless and once they've finished college, he and Willem share a tiny New York apartment, ensuring it has an elevator in order that Jude, when his immobility is at it's worst, can keep as much of his independence as possible.

Whilst I clearly wanted to uncover his secrets, I didn't find that A Little Life felt as forced as so many other books when it came to piecing together the back story. The gentle pace of the groups' lives progressing was strangely mesmerising like the slow and steady hum of a sleepy train carriage and I was in no rush for the grand reveal. Which is lucky, because as my OH pointed out at one point..."it's a really big book for being about such a little life...!"

Yes, there are some parts where I didn't want to read and yet wanted to discover what happened all at the same time (TW: graphic sexual abuse, violence, drug abuse, rape, self harm). But somehow every page was still compelling.

Honestly, I don't know how the balance was struck so perfectly, but I really think it is in this story. I longed for it not to end, even when it was forty years later and closure was imminent. I may have even shed some tears.

I know that there has been recent talk of film rights and the like, which makes me kind of want to cry a little. I think that when a book has such an effect on me, I don't want to see a adaptation of it, because it won't be as good as what went on in my head. But, the more people it reaches, the better, I guess.

Have you read A Little Life?

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Brooch Display Boards..


Fancy another project where I made things up as I went along? My wardrobe room is one of the rooms which I've probably done the most too, installing the shoe shelves and replacing the curtains with a blind into the recess of the window. I have plans for some shelves across the window space, too. I'll try to take some more photos of the room itself, soon.

One of the things I've noticed since I moved and gained *so* much more storage space, is just how useful it can be to be able to see some of the things I have. If I can see more of my jewellery collection, chances are I'm more likely to wear a little more of it. 


After putting some hooks up around the dressing table mirror for some of my necklaces, I decided I needed to think of a way of storing some of my larger brooches. After a little time on Pinterest, I decided to have a go at making some brooch display boards. 

I bought three basic white photo frames from the sale shelf in Asda, and recycled the glass from them. I guess if I were a little more DIY orientated, I should have just made some frames, but it was helpful for me to have the backing and fixings for them, too. 

I cut up an old pillowcase, which I'd outsorted because it had a hole in it, and cut out rectangles of fabric a little larger than the backs of the frames. I then cut several layers of quilt batting out as well, to the size of the frame, and layered them up, with the fabric over the top. 

I used a hot glue gun to secure the fabric at the back of the frame and also used a staple gun on the corners where the fabric folds overlapped. It was a slow process as I had to make sure that the fabric was being pulled tight over the stuffing. 


Once I'd left it to dry for a while, I put the frames back on and the boards were ready to hang on the wall. (Let's ignore the small hiatus where I dropped one and had to glue the corner back together). 

Once on the wall, I added my brooches to them, which also gave me a good opportunity to have a bit of a clearout of the ones I no longer wear or don't think I'd wear again. 


Friday, 8 March 2019

Friday Favourites 298..

001 // 002 // 003 // 004 // 005

I know it's been a really long time since I did one of these wishlist posts, but this week it's as if all of the new things are arriving all at once. O. M. G. 

Lately, there have been so many amazing boots catching my eye. I think it might have something to do with the fact that I'm off for a week in the snow and thinking warm outfit thoughts. Not that the first pair of boots are particularly snow-friendly, but I guess I'd happily make an exception. The only thing which puts me off is that the zip is at the back of the boot, and I have weird issues with that.

I mentioned recently that it's the 20th anniversary of Irregular Choice this year and that they have big things in the pipeline. These unicorn boots (001) are one of the releases I've been waiting to drop for *so* long. They're incredible, with the mix of pastels, glitter and of course the unicorn.

002: I have some boots in this style already, so I know that probably makes them unnecessary, but again...unicorns and glitter! I also know already just how comfortable they will be. 

003: I love this bear design, although I think I'd be a little bit wary of wearing them out in the wild if there was a chance of rain. 

004: Another high top design to add to my growing collection ( I seem to have snapped up so many of the past ICED collection lately for pennies on eBay that I have quite the collection these days!) which is kinda daft when I'm really a heels girl through and though, but I just love the green and pink contrast with the clouds. 

005: These remind me a lot of a cross between my ICED Secret Garden trainers and a pair of platform snow boots. Again, more glitter and the selection of floral embellishments has me drooling all over these. Figuratively speaking, of course. 

Any favourites here, or in the new IC collection? There are soooo many new styles coming out at the moment that there definitely seems to be something for everyone. 

Thursday, 7 March 2019

#365DaysofIC February round-up..


At the start of February, I decided to make a list of some of the shoes in my collection which have hearts on them, or some kind of heart or love related theme or reference in the name etc. I figured I could probably do a week or so of "love" theme shoes around Valentine's Day. 

In the end, it turned out that with a few little exceptions (like, when my Hero boots arrived and I wanted to wear them right away, although I guess they do have a heart on them, or wanting to wear my super-comfy God Mama boots for a hospital visit, I mostly managed to stick to heart themed shoes for the whole month. 


Oh, another exception was the Locky dragon heels, which I wore for Chinese New Year. 
Other tenuous links may have been my winged rucksacks - I do love these and kinda wish I hadn't worn them both in the same month, but there we go. It's likely that I'll use them again when wearing other pairs in the future anyway. 


Unlike when I got to the end of January, I didn't have a huge pile of shoes to get rid of at the end of February. I think that's probably because by sticking to the theme, I also stuck to quite a lot of my tried and tested favourites. Hearts on the Line, Clara Bow and Bessie Love are pairs I wear a lot anyway, and Blind Love (the silver flat brogues with the blue laces and red hearts) would be a pair I'd often choose if I was wanting a casual flat style as they're infinitely comfortable. 


It did really help me to have a theme for this month, and to make a list beforehand of the pairs I would wear throughout the month. Although I didn't put days to them, and I still therefore had some freedom to choose what I felt like wearing that morning, or for the following day when I was getting my outfit sorted the night before, the choice felt less overwhelming having to choose from a list of twenty, than having more than 400 pairs to choose from. So, I'd definitely have another theme month (or week) in the future, but I haven't set one for March. Not yet anyway, as it's been nice to wear some of the pairs I felt like wearing in Feb but which wouldn't fit with the theme. 

Any favourites? Here's the list:

Day 32: Red Polka Dot Blythe
Day 33: Angel Wings Backpack (gold)
Day 34: Making Moves
Day 35: Love You
Day 36: Flopsy in Love
Day 37: Locky
Day 38: Bessie Love
Day 39: Love is all Around
Day 40: Lady Bee (red)
Day 41: Magic Bunny bag
Day 42: Love is in the Air
Day 43: Clara Bow
Day 44: Rada Tilly (pink)
Day 45: Love Me Not
Day 46: Love + Magic
Day 47: Hero
Day 48: Valentina clutch
Day 49: Can Can (hearts)
Day 50: Blind Love
Day 51: Toodle Loo
Day 52: God Mama
Day 53: Summer of Love
Day 54: Thermidor
Day 55: Dotty Love
Day 56: Hearts on the Line
Day 57: Angel Wings backpack (silver)
Day 58: Featherstone
Day 59: New York Skyline 

Friday, 1 March 2019



Do you ever feel a little bit like there's something not right, but you can't put your finger on it?

Quite aside from the fact that I can't remember a time before this current headache, lately I've been feeling awful. A combination of the unexplained stomach pains which have been plaguing my life for the past ten years or so, combined with joint pain when I wake up in the morning, particularly in my elbows and knees, and just a general feeling of exhaustion. I know that it's become something of a competitive sport these days to bang on and on about how tired one is, but I mean I often feel as though it physically hurts to keep my eyes open.

And I'm tired of it. Tired of having to retire to bed before 9pm in an evening; tired of telling my friends that I can't meet up, or missing the gym, or admitting to M that I don't want to do something because I feel too poorly. It's crappy, and it's a sign of weakness and it's making me sad. Which can only be making the whole thing worse, right?

And really, I don't know what the point in sharing this is, other than to try and let the thoughts escape from my head. I have become something of a regular at my doctor's and every time the latest test comes back inconclusive, I feel as though I'm a terrible waste of everyone's time and resources. So I now also have this overwhelming sense of guilt hanging over it all, too.

So, I guess if anyone needs me I'll be hibernating until further notice. Or until the next lot of painkillers kicks in, at least.