Thursday, 21 May 2015

Lundi Links

Thought I'd start a little Monday links series. I've read a number of articles really that have made me think and hopefully you'll be interested enough to have a peep at them too. If anything, it will brighten up what can be a boring Monday afternoon! 

This article talks about how our obsession with avocados is actually endangering their existence. 

This one, written by a rather lovely girl from NI, is beautifully written and thought-provoking. How about taking a step back to think things over instead of leaping to our keyboards to criticise stories in the news? 

This article pulled at my heartstrings and encouraged me to be grateful that my biggest dilemma in life at the moment is choosing where to go for university.

Em writes about how sometimes, we can be our own worst enemy. 

Pour yourself a cup of tea, grab a cushion, and sit down to have a read. 
Sometimes I wonder if I could ever write so deeply about something on this little blog; could it be more than just a 'lifestyle' blog? How about a blog that actually changes lives? 

I recently heard Gemma Wilson (who wrote that second blog post above) speak at an event for women. She encouraged us to speak out, because we have a voice; we should use it not only to encourage our friends and family but also to fight for justice. Sometimes I feel as if the blogging world focuses too much on the material things and not enough on the real world. It's an unpleasant thought, but one that we need to remember. 





Sunday, 10 May 2015

Book Review - The Lost Daughter

One of the great things about having two weeks off at Easter was being able to start (and finish!) a new book. Reading has always been a hobby of mine but I hadn't had the chance to sit down with a good novel for a while due to the mountain of homework piled on my desk! We took a day off as a family and went to Downpatrick, staying in a B and B for the night and driving round lots of little country villages during the course of the trip. In the evening, after an incredible slice of pecan pie (warm, with ice cream), we returned back to the house and settled down to read. I had planned to start another book but Mum dropped this one into my lap and I just couldn't resist.

My family are very into crime novels. And not just novels - TV series too! Morse, Endeavour, Foyle's War, Poirot, Miss Marple... You name it, we've probably watched it. We've recently discovered Inspector Montalbano (BBC3, Saturdays @ 9pm) - a detective drama set in Sicily with some very loveable characters. Mum has read a few of the original books but wasn't too keen on the language involved, so looked for something a bit different.

She found it in the form of the Lucretia Grindle.

She has written several books, but I've only read this one - 'The Lost Daughter'. And what a book it is too! I was hooked from the very opening pages and continued to read whenever I got the chance, finishing it within two days - something I haven't done in a very long time.


Rebellious American teenager in Italy + dodgy Italian figure from her stepmother's past = trouble.
Trouble + Italian detective = gripping.

I loved the fact that whilst at first the book seemed to be all about the teenager, it actually focused on the Italian stepmother and looked back at her childhood in the midst of an old Italian town. Having visited Italy last year I could picture the landscape even more vividly - the run-down buildings, the dusty streets, the wonky houses... It's a mystery with a bit more depth, so if you're into your car chases give this one a miss. For anyone else, though, I would highly recommend it!

You can buy it from Waterstones here.

Have you read any great books recently? (Or at any point; I'm always looking for recommendations.)

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Favourite Feeds

It's no secret that I'm a bit of an Instagram addict. I recently completed the 100 happy days challenge (wait, recently?- almost two months ago!) and I do like to post a few times a week.

Of course, for me the best part is seeing what everyone else has been up to!  - friends, other bloggers, other photographers.... I follow a lot of food accounts (seriously, it's embarrassing) and then more recently I've begun to get into the clean eating / vegan / fitness accounts. I'm not a vegan by any means, but the food looks absolutely delicious and it really does inspire me to eat a bit more healthily and get out and exercise more.

So, without further ado, here are my top five favourite feeds of the moment.

Urban Outfitters

Rebecca.Kathryn

Wildhoneyandbear

Treasures and Travels

The Crunchy Hazelnut

Have you any other recommendations? Or are you more of a Pinterest fan?


Thursday, 9 April 2015

Blog Inspo

Hi all. It's been a while!





Just like Zoe, I don't want to have to make excuses about why there haven't been many posts recently.  As most other bloggers will know, blogging takes up a huge amount of time - and time is not something I have in abundance at the moment (due to those little tests in June aka A-Levels)!

Still, after talking to Beth last night I decided to get back to the keyboard and begin to write again. It was so nice to meet another blogger who understood how much effort it takes to post regularly; it was nice to know that I wasn't alone in occasionally feeling confused and a little disillusioned. 

I'm looking forward to being able to blog during my spare time, as a break from revision. - As long as it remains fun and exciting! The minute it begins to feel like a chore, I'll take a breather and rest for a little while.

There will hopefully be a few more posts popping up within the next month, but for now I thought I'd leave you with some of my favourite blog posts from the last while. 

Katie's adventures in Stockholm.

Rose's dreamy trip to the Maldives

Amie's soft, pastel-hued photos

Molly's honeymoon in Lucerne.

(All travel posts... Unintentional, I promise!)



Thursday, 29 January 2015

The Stationery Drawer

I'm in love with stationery. Pens, printed wrapping paper, cards, envelopes... Stationery is reliable. I know I'll always find several things I like in Paperchase - whereas Topshop? Not such a certainty! 

A stationery revolution has taken over our nation, with the likes of Liberty London now offering products from the Rifle Paper Co as well as their own beautiful cards. I'm going to embrace it with open arms.

Writing letters gives me such pleasure. Firstly, because I know how much joy they can bring to the recipient, especially if (like me) they rarely receive post at all. Secondly, because letters and cards can be treasured for years - kept in drawers, tied in bundles, displayed on mantelpieces..., they're a long lasting memento of our thoughts and relationships, something which is becoming increasingly more important in this digital age. And thirdly, because writing letters makes me feel very like a character in a Jane Austen novel - something which can only ever be a good thing! 

I don't write letters every day, and nor do I send them to people I see on a daily basis. Occasionally I'll give a friend a little card 'for no particular reason'; but I keep long, pour-out-my-heart letters for those living at the other end of the country (which, being NI, is all of 110 miles wide.) 

On that note, I thought I'd show you what my stationery drawer contains. (Most boring sentence of the year award! But I promise you, it's exciting.) 

Postcards - Various - Paperchase
Sometimes you don't want to write a long letter. Sometimes you just want to write a few lines of encouragement or thanks or a brief 'how are you?'. Sometimes, all you need is a postcard. 



Cath Kidston notecards
These little cards are great because they don't have a specific message, so you can write whatever you want! They're a good size too.


'Thank You' Notecards, Paperchase
I picked these up in the January sales and used them for my Christmas thank you-s. I've always written thank you letters after Christmas or my birthday, and it's a habit I'd like to continue. I know that these are really for weddings but I think the design is sophisticated enough to pass for a standard card. 



Bird writing set, Paperchase
This bird notepaper set is sadly no longer in production, but Paperchase sell similar sets each year. The print is really beautiful and just look at the detail on the envelopes! My one complaint about this paper would be that I don't like to write on the side with the large picture, so I end up using only one side of each sheet. Not very eco-friendly ... But maybe I'll just have to get over my aversion to writing over the bird! 




There are plenty of other cards and note sets I'd like to buy, but I'll save that list for another day! 
Do you like writing letters or do you prefer to email? 

Sunday, 11 January 2015

New Year Reflections

It's 2015! And it feels so strange. I'm still stuck in 2012... And remember the song 'I gotta feeling'? - 2009!
Time keeps ticking on and before we know it, a year has passed. I've moved into 2015 making all of the necessary resolutions (get fit, spend less time online) but there's something else that's been on my mind too.

I was reading a '2014 in pictures' supplement from a newspaper and I suddenly realised how, whilst my year may not have been a year of fun and games, it was certainly a better year for me than for many others.

The Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram. Plane crashes.The crisis in Ukraine. The Ebola outbreak.

It was the Nigerian girls in particular that struck me the most. Many of them are the same age as me, and the only difference between us is that I live here in the Uk and they live in Africa. If circumstances had been different, I could have been living in Africa. I could have been kidnapped. I could have been beaten or raped or killed.  It's a shocking thought. And suddenly I've become much more appreciative of all that I have. I can go to school freely; I can speak out without being rebuked; I can even go to university if I want.

I'm not going to pretend I know what life is like in other parts of the world - I know it varies depending on country, class and sex - but even  taking a few moments to remember the ways in which I have been blessed  helps me to stay more positive. I have a warm bed at night (something I don't appreciate enough); I can come home and choose something nice to eat; I'm even able to buy clothes not because I need them but because they look nice.

I'll leave you with a little thought. Whether you pray or not, this picture that I posted on my Instagram last week sums everything up pretty clearly for me.




I'm not saying you have to jump around ecstatically every day (though that wouldn't hurt); it's more a question of attitude. Are you going to spend your year longing for more or are you going to step back and say 'thank you' for what you have now?

Friday, 2 January 2015

Travel list

Thought I'd continue on with this little list series. I'm a list fanatic and it's quite nice to be able to share them with other people!

On a recent trip to Dublin I became filled with excitement at the thought of having the whole world at my fingertips (well, almost). Being in a city always thrills me because I am suddenly made aware of the diversity on our planet - we passed French people, Spaniards, Germans, Japanese... There's so much to discover out there and I hope to do as much as I can now, in my younger years, before I settle down and have a family. 


London

I visited London last year but to be honest, you could spend weeks there and not get bored. After purchasing one of these cute guides last week, it has made me want to return to the capital and seek out tiny restaurants and independent boutiques - not to mention take a walk around some of the markets! 



Copenhagen 

The city of the moment, and one that fascinates me. There's something so simplistic about Scandinavian style and I've fallen in love with the decor of many Instagrammed caf├ęs. Plus, a carbon-neutral city? Now that's impressive! Let's also nod towards the food - cinnamon buns and coffee, or fresh fish and vibrant herbs. I'm going to keep my eyes open for cheap flights, although unfortunately Belfast hasn't established air links with Denmark yet! 


New York


We visited NYC as a family a few years ago - and it's an experience which I will treasure forever. However, having grown up quite a bit since then (and having watched about one hundred more episodes of Gossip Girl), I would love to re-visit the City That Never Sleeps - for brunch, a trip to the Met and another walk around Central Park.

Where would you like to go? Is there anywhere else I should add to my list?