Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Travel Dreams #BEDN

Today's Blog Every Day in November theme is travel dreams! And it's something that's been on my mind a lot recently. It's been a while since I've had a proper holiday abroad. Last time actually was 2008! Well, technically I have been abroad since then. I've travelled to and from the UK and Ireland a lot over the years and that is abroad! But I don't think it really counts as Ireland is home and I did live in Manchester for a while.

I'd love to travel more but it's just something that hasn't happened for a number of reasons. There's so many places I'd like to go, I have a Pinterest board for that, but if I won the lotto tomorrow I'd go to America. On a big road trip!

I'd probably start with New York. It's iconic after all! And with Nurse Fancy Pants, Cherry Sue and LovelyGirlieBits all talking about the Big Apple recently, it's been on my mind a lot! I'd then head onto Chicago, Las Vegas, LA and Seattle. I have friends in LA and it's killed me that I haven't been able to go visit them yet. There are so many other places I'd like to go too though. Especially New England in the autumn, Chloe from Nurse Fancy Pants was there recently and her Instagram is just so pretty from her New England road trip!

Realistically though, the next time I go 'properly' abroad will probably be somewhere in Europe. I've already been to Spain, Italy, France and Czech Republic so I'd ideally like to go somewhere new to me. Scandinavia has always intrigued me, I did an unauthorized summer holidays project one year because I was fascinated (ya, I was one of those kids) and I do have a friend in Norway that I could go see! And I'd be able to see Northern Lights too which would be amazing! Germany, Austria and Netherlands are also high on my want to see list. If I was to go somewhere I'd already been before though it would be Prague. I've been twice and loved it! I love the vibe of the place, it's a beautiful city.

At John Lennon Wall in Prague 2008

There are so many other places I want to go and I doubt I'll ever see them all. Which is ok with me as I know I'll see enough to make me happy. And right now I'd be happy enough with a weekend away in Ireland!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Books Are My Bag Collection #BEDN

Today's Blog Every Day in November theme in Collections. The other day I showed you some of my flamingo collection. I'm pretty certain I've mentioned my nail polish on here before (last time I counted it was just over 450 but I have since bought polishes. I even bought some today!) and waaayyy back when I mentioned Beanie Babies in this post. But I wanted to show you something that has become a collection and I hope to add to it every year. It's my Books Are My Bags collection of tote bags!

This was the first BAMB bag I got, the classic orange design. I got it in 2013 from Lahinch Bookshop and I did a blog post about Books Are My Bag then too which you can find here. Last year I got given another one of these totes and a good thing I did and all, because the next day my original broke coming home from work!

The next BAMB book I got was last year's limited edition Tracey Emin bag. Even though I took photos of it in its current state (which you'll see in the group shot), I showed the original pictures here because I have used it so much it's no longer white! And there are some mysterious stains on it (though my friend thought they were part of the design). I used this almost every day, the quality of the bag is fantastic so it lasts a lot longer. I went all the way to the Urmston Bookshop to get this bag (which they kindly put aside for me) and you can see what else I bought then in this post from last year. I also won another one of these bags but gave it away to a book loving friend.

This year there's two designs to look forward to! The one of the right is a Lauren Childs' one that has Lola from Charlie and Lola with the quote 'I am going to the bookshop for one thing or maybe even perhaps a squillion' (I know that mindset!). The other one is this year's limited edition designer bag from Grayson Perry. I got both bags from O'Mahonys in Limerick but I actually won the Grayson Perry one with a colouring competition! Johanna Basford (she of the massive Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest colouring book fame) designed the competition sheets and I decided to stick with different shades of the classic BAMB orange. I love it so much that I might get it printed onto a tote bag for myself!

The one BAMB thing I'd LOVE is the mug! I love collecting mugs as much as these totes. You can order them but they're UK only, which I so would have ordered if I was still in Manchester! But while we're on the subject of orange, I was at my aunt's house a few weeks ago and took this picture of some of her classic orange Penguin books. I need to start my own collection I think!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Barry M Black Cherry #BEDN

I love when Barry M brings out new polishes, especially the Autumn one. Last year they had some limited edition Christmas ones but this year they didn't bring anything like that out. This year they had 4 'Midnight Gellies', all darkened near black versions of green, purple, blue and red. Black Cherry is the darkened red one.

I love the idea of this range. Autumn and winter is the perfect time for vampy shades and I especially love dark reds and burgundies. 

did bring out two limited edition exclusive to Superdrug Gellies this autumn, a purple and a red, both with glitter in them! I picked up the purple, I just can't seem to photograph it right though but it so pretty! Hopefully I'll get it right though so I can do a post on it. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

September Reads #BEDN

Next in the book reads catch up is what I read in September.

September Reads

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas

Queen of Shadows is book 4 in the Throne of Glass series. I bought this the day it came out and started it but it took me 2 weeks to read. I don't know why, I loved it when reading it and couldn't wait to find out what happened. I think I just lost my reading mojo and was feeling down. The book is awesome though, my favourite in the series so far and I can't wait for the next one!

Popular: Vintage Wisdom for the Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen

After finishing Queen of Shadows, I went to library and flew through the next few books. I've wanted to read this book for a while. Maya feels like she's at the bottom of the popularity ladder in school and decides to use this 1950s popularity book by Betty Cornell to see if it can change things for her. Each month she focused on a different chapter and doing things from that chapter (so one was to do with clothes, another was exercise etc). I LOVED this book! Maya's family were so supportive and it was nice to see their dynamic, they seem like such a lovely family. Maya learns so much in this book and she's such a clued-in, smart girl. A definite feel good read.

A Spy in the House by Y.S. Lee 

Set in Victorian London, 12 year old Mary Quinn is sentenced to hang for being a thief but is rescued from the gallows. She ends up in Miss Scrimshaw's Academy for Girls and gets a good education. At ages 17, she finds out the academy is a cover for The Agency, an all female investigation unit. For her first case, she goes to the house of a rich merchant posed as his daughter's new companion. She's sent there to find out more information about cargo missing from the merchant's ships. I enjoyed this book, I love Victorian London and I enjoyed Mary as a main character. I already have the second book out of the library and will read it soon. It was a quick read and no I didn't guess who did it!

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Prior to this, the only John Green I'd read was The Fault in Our Stars. This is his first book and it's a coming of age story. Miles is a misfit and decides to leave his Florida home to go to boarding school in Alabama. Miles is given Chip as his roommate and becomes friends with him and his friends, including the wild and beautiful Alaska. The book was ok, I wasn't blown away by it. I can see why teenagers might enjoy it, Green writes convincing enough teenage characters. It hasn't put me off trying other Green books, but while I would possibly reread TFIOS, I wouldn't pick this one up again.

Broken Harbour by Tana French

It's no surprise that I love Tana French! This book follows Scorcher Kennedy, who is sent to the ghost estate in Broken Harbour with his rookie partner, Richie, to investigate the murder of 2 children and their father, with the mother in intensive care. The case seems pretty obvious, the father has snapped and killed his family due to losing his job in the recession. But there are other small details that throw this case off so Scorcher sets about trying to find out the truth. However Broken Harbour brings back lots of bad memories for him and this, along with his sister Dina going off the rails, means life is breaking down a bit of Scorcher. I love how French writes the characters and I never know exactly who's done what until close to the end. There's just one more French book to read and I've been holding off because I love reading them and don't want to have none to look forward to!

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

When I saw this on NetGalley I requested it straight away. Gillian certainly knows how to write an opening sentence that captures your attention! The narrator of the short story is faking being a psychic (with a 'handy' male only customer service role on the side) and does a good job at what she does, mainly because she is able to read people well and tell them what they want. Until Susan Burke arrives and tells her that she has problems with her house and her stepson. The narrator, seeing a side business of 'cleansing' houses offers to go to the house and help Susan. But when she arrives she feels as if the house is watching her, especially when she meets Susan's stepson Miles waiting too.

This is a quick read, I had it read in about half an hour but I really enjoyed it. It had me guessing, even at the end when all is revealed (or not revealed, depending on who you believe is being truthful!). I've seen other reviews of people saying they didn't particularly like any of the characters but I did like the narrator. Sure, she didn't hesitate to try scam people out of people but she was resourceful. 

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

I made a full review post here, but Furiously Happy is Jenny Lawson's account of dealing with depression, anxiety and other mental health worries. It's funny, it's sad and it's quirky! Furiously Happy is Lawson's mantra, that while there are times when she doesn't want to do anything because her mental health is bad, there are up times too, when she not only wants to be happy but she wants to be furiously so. To grab life by the balls and enjoy it for that it's worth. Because there will always be bad times around the corner but it doesn't mean that you can't full enjoy the good times when you feel good.

September Reads

Number of books read- 7
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 5:2
Male to Female authors- 6:1
Number of eBooks- 2 (The Grownup and Furiously Happy
Number of books borrowed from library- 4 (Popular, A Spy in the House, Looking for Alaska and Broken Harbour)

Reading Challenge Completed

A Book with More than 500 Pages- Queen of Shadows
A Popular's Author First Book- Looking for Alaska
A Book with Antonyms in the Title- Furiously Happy

And that's September! Slowly getting more through the reading challenge, I still have a good amount more before the year is out but I have most planned and I hope I can finish it!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Gingerbread White Hot Chocolate #BEDN

After pinning for my Winter Wishlist, I just had this idea to make a gingerbread white hot chocolate. There are definitely some recipes out there but I winged this one and it turned out to be pretty tasty! And easy to make.

Gingerbread White Hot Chocolate


Brown sugar
White Chocolate
Whipped Cream


1. Using the cup you're going to drink from, measure out the milk to 2/3 full. You don't want it to be much more than that as when you add the white chocolate, the volume will increase and you also want room for whipped cream and/or marshmallows! Add to saucepan and heat (but don't bring to boil).

2. I added a teaspoon of light brown sugar. Now, a dark brown sugar or even molasses would probably be more suitable for a gingerbread flavour but I used what I had on hand. I had a sprinkle of cinnamon and ginger, I don't include measurements because for one cup, it's going to be too small to really measure. Just add to taste! You can add nutmeg too, I didn't because I didn't have it on hand. If you don't like any of these spices, leave them out! You could have it as a white hot chocolate or if you do add them in, you could also add in a spoon of coffee to make it more a gingerbread latte.

3. Break up white chocolate and add to hot milk. I got a small 100g bar from Tesco, I used it all because I like sweet things but you can use less. Or use a white hot chocolate powder if you want the taste but not the calories. Options do a white hot chocolate powder.

4. Whisk until chocolate is melted and then pour into mug. Add topping of choice (I add whipped cream) and dusted it with cinnamon and milk chocolate shavings.

5. Enjoy!

Friday, November 20, 2015

The Book Lover's Tag #BEDN

Paula over at Cornflakegirl's Musings wrote her Book Lover's Tag last month and tagged me in it. I read it at the time, made a note to do the tag and then promptly forgot for a number of reasons. I love tags, especially book ones so here we go!

Do You Have a Specific Place for Reading?

Nope! I'll pretty much read anywhere. In bed, on the couch, in the car, on buses, trains, and planes, in waiting rooms, in the bathroom! I prefer somewhere really comfortable like my couch or bed. I wish I had a cosy reading nook, I have a few pinned on Pinterest and I'm so jealous of them!

Bookmark or Random Piece of Paper?

Usually I'll save my progress on Goodreads. One as I like to see the percentage bar move along and two while I usually remember where I finished reading, if I forget then it's online and no risk of a bookmark falling out. I do have a nice bookmark my friend gave me though which I love as she thoughtfully sent it when I was feeling bad and it really cheered me up.

Can You Stop Anywhere in a Book or Do You Have to Finish a Chapter?

I can stop anywhere really. Sometimes I prefer to finish at the end of a chapter (more to stop myself from reading too long!) but sometimes the chapters are too long for that, so I'll try at least finish a paragraph. The only time I'll stop in the middle of a paragraph or even the middle of a sentence is if I can no longer physically keep my eyes open.

Music or TV While You Are Reading?

I most likely prefer to read in silence. I can read while someone else is watching TV and I have read lighter books that don't need that much attention with music in the background. Which can be fun actually as I'll associate certain songs with that book when I next hear the songs. But silence is my favourite.

Do You Eat or Drink While Reading?

Yes, at times. Usually just snacks and water but there have been times when I've been so engrossed in a book and needed to eat dinner that I've done both at the same time!

One Book or Several At a Time?

Several on the go at the one time! I'll usually have one I'm concentrating on the most, while reading another at the same time. When I finish the first book, the next book will be the main book I'll concentrate on while I start another. If I have physical book on the go, especially a large one I don't want to carry around, I'll have a Kindle one on the go too and sometimes an audio one as well.

Reading at Home or Elsewhere?

I pretty much covered this in the first question but I'll read mostly at home. Like Paula I'll read in the car and in long queues (yay for Kindle app!), I've brought books if I've stayed over at friends houses, just in case I wake up early or they get distracted doing something else. If I need to collect family members from something, I'll leave a bit early and sit in the car and read, this is so handy especially if they get delayed. But nothing beats my comfy bed and couch!

Reading Out Loud or Silently?

Silently, always. Unless I get muddled by a sentence and find reading it out to try make sense of it.

Do You Read Ahead or Skip Pages?

I'll never read ahead, nor would I purposely skip pages but I might skim something, if it was a long and boring paragraph or if characters are just mindlessly talking about something that's just being repeated from earlier.

Breaking the Spine or Keeping It Like New?

I'm not precious about books,  don't like it looking too tatty or other people staining it, tearing it or writing in it, but unless it was a special edition of something or has sentimental value, then it can be easily replaced.

Do You Write in Your Books?

No, very rarely. Not that I wouldn't but I haven't felt the need for a while. I do sometimes highlight on Kindle.

Yay! I tag Cuti-CLUE-les and Plastic Rosaries. I would usually tag Behind Green Eyes and Nurse Fancy Pants for a book themed post but Paula tagged them already. Yay books!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

What's In My Make Up Bag #BEDN

Today's Blog Every Day in November theme is beauty. There's so much I could usually write about but I decided to share something I've never really done before. I'm going to show my current go to make up products and what they look like when put together.

Primer- Bourjois Translucent Smoothing Primer. Katie from What Katie Healy Did very kindly sent me this along with some other nail products and it's nice for smoothing out the skin.

Foundation- Catrice Nude Illusion in Nude Ivory. I have 3 different Catrice foundations at the moment so I just pick up one of those. Catrice make great foundations that aren't too expensive.

Concealer- Benefit Erase Paste. I'm almost at the end of this! I've had it for a while, probably way too long but it's great when you want something slightly heavier.

Eyeshadow- Catrice Velvet Matt Eyeshadow in Pink-up Girls and Make Up Gallery Colour Story Eye Shadow n Cappuccino. I LOVE the Velvet Matt eyeshadows from Catrice! They are buttery soft and go on so well. Vanillaty Fair is my favourite, but I smashed it. This shade is a soft pink. I put this on the lid and then in the crease I use the brown shadow, which I've been using since the summer. It's a matte brown shade which I prefer for the crease. You can get Make Up Gallery in Dealz, Sharon from Behind Green Eyes did a post about some of their products which you can check out here.

Eyeliner- Rimmel Exaggerate Eye Liner. This is my favourite liquid liner, I love the applicator on it, makes things so easy!

Mascara- Bourjois Volume 1 Second Mascara in Ultra Black. I got this because I saw Karen from Lovely Girlie Bits talk about it on Snapchat and it is pretty dramatic! With 3 for 2 on at Boots at the moment it's the perfect time to pick something up!

Blush- Bourjois Cream Blush in 01. This is the 3rd Bourjois product I'm listing, I barely even noticed it to be honest! While I like Bourjois, I didn't actually pay for any of these (Primer was a gift, mascara I bought with a Boots voucher I earned from doing surveys online and blush was on Amazon also for online surveys). I love peachy shades and I love cream blushes.

Highlighter- Benefit High Beam. I tried to get the LE Essence Merry Berry highlighter today but it was out of stock. I keep forgetting I have this though, if you can't afford Benefit there are a few dupes available from other brands,

Lips- Revolution Make Up in The One. I like this as a nude lip product, it doesn't come off too much like foundation. In the second photo of my makeup look I put on a Penneys/Primark lipstick that I showed in this post

I don't usually wear bright colours on my lips, they're so small that it makes me self conscious but I really like this berry colour! As you can tell from my top too! Tis the season for berry shades I guess. More of which you can find here in Sharon's post about Berry on a Budget.
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