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



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. 


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! 


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? 

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

My 'To Read' list

A New Year always brings lists. Lists of ways to lose weight / get a promotion / save money... This year I thought I'd make a list about books I want to read over the next few months. 

This Side Of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fitzgerald's first novel - and one that is 'painfully autobiographical', according to the blurb on my edition. I bought the book because studying The Great Gatsby this year in school made me want to find out a little bit more about Fitzgerald and the Jazz Age. I've only read the first two chapters or so but already I can see parallels between his life and the life of the main character. 

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green 
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.
The above two books were presents from a good friend of mine. He's been asking  me to read them for ages now and I imagine he just got sick of me saying, "I'll buy them later"! Still, I've nearly finished An Abundance of Katherines and, whilst it's very different to TFIOS, it is a lovely book enriched with humour and a little touch of romance. I'm interested to see how the double authorship works in Will Grayson, Will Grayson

Paris by Edward Rutherfurd
I love historical novels, so when I spotted this in Waterstones I thought it would be perfect for me. I'll admit that the large size is putting me off beginning  it in the midst of a busy school term, when I'll only be able to read a hurried page here and there; but we shall see. Perhaps the pull of France will be too much to keep me away from it for very long!

Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz
 I haven't bought this book yet (I might just get it from the library instead) but I've read a sample chapter and it gripped me immediately. I've always been a Horowitz fan (though I never got round to reading the The Power Of Five series) so I'm looking forward to see how he puts his spin on the Sherlock Holmes story. 

You're The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher
This book has been on my mind for a while now - initially because the author is married to Tom Fletcher of McFly fame, but also because it sounds like the type of cute love story that could take you away from the troubles of the day. I also received a recommendation from a friend - someone who doesn't read, may I add! - so it's certainly one to add to the list.

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray 
Practically a classic by now, this was another Christmas present. Mum and Dad told me that they read it together before they got married and whilst I'm miles away from that stage yet I know it is going to make a good read. It's refreshing to have something different to my usual novels and, after flicking through a few pages on Christmas Day, I can tell that it will be very informative! 

So, those will keep me going for a while! What have you been reading recently / what are you looking forward to reading? Let me know if you have any recommendations! 

Monday, 22 December 2014

The Christmas Tag

I feel as if there's been a serious lack of posts lately - sorry about that! There's been quite a lot going on in my life recently, such as concerts (plus accompanying music practices), dinners out and homeworks, not to mention driving lessons and Christmas shopping.

Anyway, I saw this 'Christmas Tag' on Beth's blog and I thought it would be nice to share a bit of my Christmas with you. I often think I should be more personal in my writing so here's a few little facts about our family Christmas traditions. 

1. What is your favourite Christmas film?
I haven't actually seen that many modern Christmas films, so my favourites tend to be the classics, like Home Alone and White Christmas. I also love The Holiday, even though it's  not really about Christmas!

2. Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
When I was little I used to open one present on Christmas Eve simply because I couldn't wait any longer, but traditionally we open our presents on Christmas Day. Again, as a child I would have opened all of my 'Santa' presents in the morning, but last year it was well into the evening before I actually got down to opening them! I suppose it shows that the presents are becoming less important to me as I get older (but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy them!).

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
Not that I can think of - I enjoy it every year. 

4. Favourite festive food?
Christmas pudding. Mmm. 

5. Favourite Christmas gift?
That's a tough one. I think it would have to be my Cath Kidston purse (I take it everywhere) or an Animal Hospital set I got when I was about five.

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
Cinnamon! Everything cinnamon! 

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
Typically it's just getting into my pyjamas early and relaxing with a mug of hot chocolate, an open fire and a film or a good book. This year I'm hoping to go to the midnight service at my local church, if I can stay awake for long enough! 

8. What tops your tree?
A very pretty gold star. 

9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) you always asked for but never received?
A singing Barbie which came with a headset/microphone for you to sing into. It was on my wish list for several years!

10. What's the best part about Christmas for you?
Coming home from carol singing to a nice warm house, mulled wine and mince pies. The atmosphere is unbeatable.  

Let me know if you decide to do this tag, too - I'd love to see what your Christmas is like.