Sunday, 13 April 2014

spring clean



I know it's a cliche, but whenever spring rolls around all I want to do is clean and start afresh. The sunnier days make us reconsider all kinds of things - from our wardrobes, make-up and nail varnishes to exercise routines, diet and how we spend our free time. Suddenly we have more choices,

sandals or flip flops?
nude nails or neon nails?
pub garden or run in the park? 
(I think we all know the answer to that one)

and today, being warm, sunny and free of obligations, felt like the perfect day to kick spring off right - with some cleaning, new skincare and spring fashion mags in the sun. 

My skin has changed from oily and spotty teenage skin to blotchy, dry and yet somehow still spotty adult skin. So when buying skincare products I have to use a double pronged approach - keep skin hydrated and stop shine/spots. A bit tricky, but luckily there are lots of skincare products to help.

To cleanse I've recently started using Micellar water after a decade-long love affair with Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish. This particular variation of the French cult item feels like it cleanses really well, doesn't irritate and leaves my skin feeling hydrated. My only gripe? It takes quite a lot of work to remove my stubborn eye make-up.

To moisturise I wanted something to hydrate and control shine at the same time - and again, I turned to the French. I treated myself to a La Roche-Posay moisturiser that controls sebum and tightens pores. I've only used it once so far, so I can't judge yet - but so far, so shine-free.

Finally I wanted something to brighten up my complexion and Clarins Beauty Flash Balm does this wonderfully. I'm hoping by the time summer hits, these products will help my skin to be smooth, spot-free and happy. 

After slathering my skin in these lovely products I cleaned my room from top to toe - it's incredible how much a tidy, clean room can soothe the mind. Then I headed outside to sit among the flowers, read about spring silhouettes in Elle and watch Sanka chasing butterflies. It was lovely until my hayfever kicked in and I couldn't see my magazine through watery eyes and sneezing fits.

So now I'm inside, with tea and tissues - but I'm still excited for spring. 
Just need to stock up on benadryl.

Friday, 28 March 2014

newness

This month has been full of all kinds of lovely newness - new experiences, new ink and even a new pet. One of my favourite quotes of all time is:

"The core of man's spirit comes from new experiences."

So this inbound of newness feels revitalising to me. The first 'new' thing I was treated to was a fabulous day out in London with my love. OK, so I have been to London before - but I've never been to the top of the Shard to eat the best damn lamb chops I have ever tasted. I've also never seen a hanging skull in a random doorway - so, the experience felt quite new to me ;)


Next bit of newness was my new ink! My beloved Thailand tatt got a bit of a facelift and I got my waxing gibbous moon symbol on the back of my neck (will get a pic soon). My arm is well on its way to being healed and the colours are looking fab - it is quite a statement, but I love the impact is has.


Meet Sanka - my parents new cat :) named after the character from 'Cool Runnings' Sanka is the happiest little dude ever. He's been with us for just over a week and as you can see from the pics - he is right at home. 


Ahhh the new dress - is there anything better? This beauty was an impulse buy from the Whistles sale - purchased purely because the colours make me happy. My last pic was taken last night at a gig in London and again, I have been to a gig before - but this was the first gig me and Joe have been to together and it was the first time he'd seen the band and gig venue. Was a brilliant night and reminded me how much I love a little live music.


 The month of March was topped off with some sporadic days of sunshine, a vintage car boot sale and several long weekends which were just lovely. Next month is set to be a good one too - there's a long weekend in Centre Parks, Joe's birthday, and chocolate day!! (ahem, I mean Easter).

I think it's safe to say spring is off to a wonderful start. 

Friday, 7 March 2014

songbird



Music is a huge part of my life. While I may not go to gigs as much as I would like, and my brief foray in the world of music journalism was unfruitful to say the least, I still find great happiness in the simple act of listening to music.

I've often said on here that I feel my most content when my head is happily wedged in between a set of headphones, and I have a variety of Instagram pictures to prove it. 

(after all, nothing's real unless it's captured on Instagram, right?)

The music I love so intensely doesn't make me want to leap from my seat and dance. It soothes me and, more often than not, it moves me. Every song I fall for has a specific moment I can pinpoint to the second - a key change, a rhythmic interval, whatever - that forces me to stop what I'm doing and just listen.

I close my eyes and lose myself for three minutes at a time. I think about life. I think about Joe. I wonder whether or not *this* would be the perfect song to dance to at my wedding.

The following songs are current favourites and, to paraphrase Zooey Deschanel in 'Almost Famous', 

"Listen with a candle burning, and you'll see your entire future."


Peggy Sue - Idle

Peggy Sue - February Snow

Peggy Sue - The Sea, The Sea

(Yes, I like Peggy Sue)

Bon Iver - Skinny Love

Ben Howard - Black Flies

The Civil Wars - Dance me to the end of Love

The Civil Wars - Devil's Backbone

Fleetwood Mac - Big Love & I'm so Afraid (both from the live 'The Dance' album)

James Vincent McMorrow - Wicked Game (cover)

Ludovico Einaudi - Experience

Sea of Bees - Wizbot


There are plenty more where that came from, but if I listed every song that made my heart smile, I would be here all day. Do let me know which songs move you, I love adding to my collection.

 Here's a peek into my musical world - the song I have on repeat right now:




Friday, 28 February 2014

waxing gibbous


For those interested in what my next tattoo is going to be - here it is. It's a glyph for the 'waxing gibbous' moon phase. This is the phase when the moon is on it's way to being full, but isn't quite there yet. It's a time for learning, growing and starting new things. 

All in all - it's where I am in my life right now.

I'm planning on getting it on the back of my neck so I can show it off whenever I please with a quick change in hairstyle. I'm also planning on getting the cherry blossoms on my arm coloured in - I'm thinking bright blues and yellows. 

I keep seeing TV shows like 'My Tattoo Hell' trying desperately to warn people from getting tattoos, but ironically it just makes my want to get more. I love every inking on my body as they each tell a story.

The wonky star on my stomach reminds me of my fresh start at University, while the flowers on my arm remind me of that time I travelled to Thailand. The Tibetan symbol on my wrist represents the strength it took me to overcome Anorexia. The feathers falling from my ribs denote my freedom from depression, and the star residing on my foot will forever remind me of my sister. I have script to remind me to keep dreaming and a heart to signify family.

To onlookers they may appear messy, but to me they are perfect.

Monday, 24 February 2014

28



Happiness is sitting in fleece pyjamas, cup of tea in hand, reading Oh Comely magazine and listening to music by Peggy Sue.

Probably not for you - but for me, this is happiness. Of course, other things make me happy - but little else stirs my imagination and evokes warm fuzzy feelings of content the way this series of events does.

It was my birthday yesterday and as I hurtle head first towards the end of my 20s I feel as if I know myself better than ever. I know what makes me happy, I know what makes me sad and more importantly I know what I need to work on. I know that I enjoy routine, from the series of yoga moves I practice every evening to my specific pattern of tea/coffee consumption Monday–Friday - and I know that change both empowers and terrifies me.

I know that I have a long way to go and that I am far from the finished article. 

My birthday weekend was the epitome of this. I drove myself and Joe to Guildford on Saturday filled with gusto and proceeded to kiss a brick wall with the front of my car, shattering any illusions I may have had about being a confident driver. I quickly realised this was likely to be the first of many mistakes I'll make and calmed myself down. Saturday night I put on a nice dress and drank dark and stormys with friends, an evening that started off civilised and ended with bacon sarnies. 

On Sunday (my actual birthday) I enjoyed my hangover in GBK and muttered the phrase "I'm too old for this s**t" more than once. My mum baked me brownies, my sister painted me a beautiful picture and Joe spoiled me with presents and plans. Today I took the day off work to spend my birthday money before embracing the fleece pyjamas Joe's mum got me and settling in for an evening of reading.

Now I have been suitably inspired, I will probably scoff some of the many chocolates gifted to me by friends and watch Grey's Anatomy. 

So while I may not be the most mature person my age, in between turning 27 and turning 28 I feel I've grown more than other years. A sentiment I'm choosing to celebrate with a tattoo. Is this mature or wise? Probably not. Do I care? Hell no. It's my birthday and I'll ink if I want to.

Here's to another year of growing. 

Friday, 31 January 2014

taming butterflies



This week I have been scared. And by that I mean, more scared than normal. I don't suffer from panic attacks, I don't have an anxiety disorder, but man do I get a mean case of the butterflies. To an outsider butterflies may seem frivilous and weak, but to me they are ferocious.

When I was younger I loved horror films, roller coasters and climbing trees. But now I'm older and wiser, I'm more afraid. I'm pretty sure if I passed my driving test at 17 I would be cruising all over the place without a care in the world, but at 27? It makes me pretty anxious driving without a second pair of eyes looking out for me. This anxiety usually dissipates once I get going and I remember that I am perfectly capable of driving, but for those few minutes in the interim I find it hard to breathe.

Annoyingly for me, when I get anxious my body lets me know via headaches, palpitations and a pissed off digestive system (all of which I've been quietly battling this week). So, rather than sit around complaining about it - I grabbed all the tools available to me. This is what helps me tame the butterflies:

Exercise - it can really help to channel that nervous energy into something physical.

Yoga - offering you time to breathe, stretch and focus only on what your body is doing, yoga is often my saviour.

Mindfulness - when things get overwhelming I root myself in the present and concentrate on what's going on around me. I need more practice with this, but it is really helpful.

I know my anxiety about driving will ease as I get more experienced and I hope that these tools will keep me calm in the meantime. I should also point out that alongside this anxious feeling I get about driving is a feeling of exhiliration. No more waiting for the bus in the rain. No more phone calls to my dad for a 'lift'. It is awesome and I know that, I'm just battling through a few butterflies to get there.

Do you have any butterfly-taming tips?

Saturday, 25 January 2014

growing up




This week... has been a good week. The best part was probably (definitely) yesterday when I passed my driving test with just two minors. And I had a parallel park, the most fear-inducing manoeuvre of all manoeuvres. The first time I took the test I was a bag of nerves and made one silly mistake that lead to me failing. This time it would appear luck, and confidence, were on my side. 

Being a 27 year old woman who lives with her parents and can't drive really messes with your head. There are times when I look at how successful other people my age are and wonder - what the hell did I do wrong? But you know what I've come to realise - I was figuring myself out. I went to university, got a degree and spent a year living like a student after it was over (and somehow managed to have an awesome time living with friends on a pitiful retail manager's wage). After that I saved to travel to Thailand. After that I fought for years to get a writing job, and eventually, one year ago - I got it.

Now I feel I can take control of those missing bits that make you feel like a 'grown up'. I learnt to drive. I'm planning to move out with the love of my life. I drink tea and coffee now (and I'm trying to like red wine and olives).

So, yeah - it may have taken me a bit longer to get here than most people, but I think for the first time in my adult life I can safely say, it's all starting to come together.

Other things I did this week:

drank yummy coffee in Guildford

went on Pinterest more than I would like to admit

took the healthy option when it came to pudding (greek yoghurt, blueberries & honey)

saw some candy floss skies

How was your week? 

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