Thursday, 30 July 2015

Library Haul Part 2



Welcome back to my Library Haul! You can read Part 1 here. I know you'v all been eagerly waiting for the second half, right?!

Onwards with the rest of the books!

Star of the Sea, Joseph O'Connor

This is another book from my Perfect Library series. I don't know if I mentioned this before but all of these books are in one place at the back of the library which makes it easy to find them. I'd have packed it in ages ago if I had to actually hunt the shelves for them you see.

From the back:

In the bitter winter of 1847, from an Ireland torn by injustice and natural disaster, the Star of the Sea sets sail for New York...On board are hundreds of fleeing refugees...All are connected more deeply than they can possibly know. But a camouflaged killer is stalking the decks, hungry for the vengeance that will bring absolution.

I think that this looks really good! Looking forward to finding out more about this so called "camouflaged killer", I hope it's a good mystery! I actually don't really know much about the potato famine, I think we were too busy covering coal mines and such in my history class in Scotland, so it'll hopefully be a bit educational as well!

The Folly of French Kissing, Carla McKay

A chick lit! I have a strange relationship with this genre, I always pick them up thinking it'll be a great lightheated read and then get frustrated with the writing style and characters and can't finish it. Don't get me wrong, chick lit done well is absolutely brilliant, but so often I just don't find that it is done well! I don't even mind the plot being cliche as such, but I struggle when the writing style is so much like the same old rehashed phrases you read in all of them that you could play a game of chick lit phrases bingo.

Anyway, I thought I'd give this one a go anyway since it was sitting there all pretty and pink and in the "Summer reads" section.

From the back:

After finding herself innocently at the centre of a school scandal, teacher and poet Judith Hay decides there is really only one thing she can do and that is leave Britain...Judith soon finds, however that despite her attraction to the charming bookseller Gerard, not all is quite as it seems in Vevey. The sunny climate and rural location are magnets for people with things to hide. She is thrust into the role of a modern-day Miss Marple to uncover a terrible secret....

Well, I like the fact that it's set in France, I can see why this was suggested as a seasonal read, and I also like the fact that there's a bit of a mystery, it seems like hopefully this is chick lit that has a bit more to it, although guaranteed the secret is going to be something really mundane!

Otherwise Engaged, Jayne Ann Krentz

Not entirely sure what to make of this one, the cover is almost a bit 80's looking and I've noticed it says "A Ladies of Lantern Street Novel". I'm hoping it stands alone and that I don't need to have read any of the books that came before it for it to make sense!

From the back:

One does not expect to be kidnapped on a London street in broad daylight. Yet Amity Doncaster barely escapes with her life after meeting a man in a black silk mask who whispers the most vile taunts and threats into her ear...

The monster known in the press as the Bridegroom has left a trail of female victims in his wake and will soon be on his feet again. He is unwholesomely obsessed with Amity's scandalous connection to Bennedict Stanbridge and Bennedict refuses to let this resourceful, daring woman suffer for her romantic link to him....

A victorian romantic mystery! Sounds like a perfect combination. I have a feeling that this one will either be really bad or really good!

And that's all the books I got out! I'll try to review them all as and when I finish them and we can judge how successful my library haul was! It's lookin' good though!

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Library Haul Part 1

A bit of a different post today and also a contender for the dorkiest post I've ever done. I don't care though because going to the library is honestly my idea of a really exciting day out. It's maybe not quite up there with Universal Studios or something, but not far off!

I mentioned in my Love/Hate tag that one of my favourite things ever is coming home from the library with a bag full of books, and that's exactly what I did on Saturday.

Sometimes I find recommendations for books that I think I'll like and then request them from the library Saturday was not one of those times. I've requested a few books, but they've not arrived yet (I'm 17th in line for The Miniaturist, I reserved it months ago and they've allegedly got 115 copies but I'm not holding my breath on that one) so I just randomly pulled books off the shelves that I liked the look of, absolutely judging them by their covers by the way. I have no idea if I've picked up a masterpiece or a book so bad that it could have been written by a drunk monkey.


This is Chantelle, she likes to read bear-y much

So pretty!
Briefs Encountered, Julian Clary


This is one from my Perfect Library list, (for new readers that's a ridiculously long list of books that I'm half heartedly trying to complete by the end of the year though technically to manage this I think I'd now need to average a book a day) and according to one of the reviews on the cover is "A haunting tale of love, obsession and a house full of spirits..." Genuinely not sure if they mean ghosts or vodka by that, but either way it's a win.

From the back :  

Noel Coward is the toast of twenties society...a brilliant writer whose witty songs and pithy lines don't quite tell the whole story. Goldenhurst, his house...provides a place where he can be himself... And more importantly where he can be with his lover Jack...But their romantic idyll is ruined, first by the arrival of Noel's demanding relatives and then by a mysterious death....

Twenties setting, secret gay lovers and a murder mystery..sounds great, can't wait to read this one!


This book appealed to me firstly because the cover is so beautiful and secondly because I couldn't for life nor money find a description of what it was about, which intrigued me.

When I got home I finally found it, looking blindingly obvious on the first page (but in my defence most books have a description on the cover or on the inside of the cover) :

Fifteen year old Angel knows she is different, that she is destined to become a feted author...After reading The Lady Irania, the publishers are certain it will become a success...Before long Angel is a literary sensation. Wealth, fame and adoration are hers. But how can she maintain the dream when she cannot see the world around her?

Without context that description almost sounds like a trashy novel, but the fact that it's hailed as a classic and was published in 1957 begs to differ. I'm not too sure what to expect from this one, but I'm really interested to get stuck in and I think I'll probably read this one first!

The King's Curse, Philipa Gregory

Ah, crazy old Henry VIII! I loved The Other Boleyn Girl, I'd even go so far as to say that it's one of my favourite books, but none of the Philipa Gregory books I've read since have really captured my attention the same way! I don't know if it's because a story can only really be as interesting as the (vague) history behind it and it's hard to find a story more fascinating than Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn? However this book holds a lot of promise for me because it's on the same topic!

From the back :

Amid the rapid deterioration of the Tudor court, Margaret must choose whether her allegiance is to the increasingly tyrannical king, Henry VIII, or to her beloved queen and princess. Caught between the old world and the new, Margaret has to find her own way and hide her knowledge of an old curse on all the Tudors, which is slowly coming true . . .

I'm interested to see how much this overlaps with The Other Boleyn girl, hopefully a lot! On a side note I was reading the reviews on amazon when I was looking for a link for this post and one of them said it was a "grim read but worth it" which I think bodes well?!


I got six books out and I originally intended to do this as one post but then, as always, I started rambling a bit, and this post was threatening to rival my 20,000 law dissertation in length so I decided to split this into two and will put the remaining three up within the next few days! 

As always, hit me with any book recommendations in the comments!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Dress Diary #3 The White Floral Dress

My boyfriend took me out to dinner on Friday night to celebrate reaching 800 followers on twitter. Yay! Also I just want to say thanks to everyone that does follow, you're amazing! I think I had my blog for a month or so before I signed up for a twitter account and I don't know why it took me so long! I think I was worried it was going to be a bit scary but it's been nothing but amazing, and I've met so many lovely people!

(It also helped me gain more than 3 views a day which is what I was getting before I signed up, and at least two of those views were probably just me.)

We went to one of our favourite tapas restaurants and ordered a mountain of food! In fact the waitress even said to us "Oh wow I hope you're ready for all this" after we ordered which is always a sign that you've ordered enough to host a small banquet!

The dress I wore is an old favourite and also a great go-to when I'm not sure what to wear! I got it from Liberty Blues (I know I keep banging on about this place, but if you live near Belfast you should really check it out!) I got it a year ago, so it's probably not still in any shops, but Lindybop has some really nice floral ones here!



And some photos from the restaurant, which was amazing :



The restaurant is unique in that the food just comes out as and when it's ready! I forgot to take photos of the first two dishes we had (Pork Belly and Braised Beef with Caramelized Onion Mash) but I took pictures of the rest :

Spaghetti and Meatballs, Lady and The Tramp style!
Goats Cheese Bruchetta
Potato Wedges with Cheese and Bacon (and a garlic dip - essential)


They served the wine in bags of ice! Too cute!


I also went out on Saturday night, I didn't take many pictures but here's the snap from my Instagram:


This is another dress I've had for a while, I got it from Charlotte Russe when I was living in America! We used to live just across the road from a massive outlet mall. I really miss that place!

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend!

Friday, 24 July 2015

The Love/Hate Tag



I was nominated in the Love/Hate tag a while back by the lovely sisters at The Flower That Blooms, you can read their post here and make sure you read the rest of their stuff, their blog is brilliant. Oh! And all credit goes to them for the lovely logo for this tag.

Just to give a warning here, I can already tell this post is going to be a bit of a ramble-y one! Basically you list ten things you love and ten things you hate and explain why.

Onwards!

Loves

1. Expedition Everest 

You know the ride at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida? I love it. Love, love love it! My boyfriend got to do a behind the scenes tour and I'm only just recovering from the fact that I wasn't able to go as well! I love this ride so much I would happily pitch up in the queue and just live there forever! I just wish they'd fix the giant yeti at the end so he swipes at you as you ride by, sort yourselves out Disney!


2. Puppets

Not in a weird, obsessed way, but I love any tv show or film involving some kind of puppet! Bodger and Badger, Sooty and Sweep, The Muppets, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, you name it, if it's got some kind of cute animal puppet character I'm gonna love it.


3. Old films

Ideally starring Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn or Marlon Brando, but I have a soft spot for all old movies. Breakfast at Tiffany's and My Fair Lady are my favourites.

4. Pandas

Did God create a more majestic creature? I think not!

5. 80s music

A guy in my previous job told me he thought there was no good music created in the 80s. I think that was the moment our friendship ended.

6. Coming home from the library with a big bag of books

I honestly think this is my favourite feeling in the whole, entire world.

7. Harry Potter

I feel like this should automatically just be on everyone's list. I also love the Harry Potter world at Universal Studios, this is another theme park area that I could happily live in forever.

8. Cheese

When I'm at a restaurant I always order the option with the most cheese. I especially love it deep fried where it's all melty in the middle.

9. Hangover Days

Not the ones where you feel so ill that you want to kill yourself, but I quite enjoy the just-a-slight-headache type of hangovers that are basically just an excuse to stay in bed all day and then order takeaway as soon as Dominos opens at 5.

10. My Boyfriend

Well this just got soppy! Seriously though, he's amazing. (And I think he sometimes reads this, so that's brownie points right there!)


Hates

1. People that ask how food is before you try it

Like, your food has just arrived at the table, and then the perosn next to you is like "How is it?" and you've barely even got your fork in it yet, and then you have to waste valuable eating time telling them you haven't tasted it yet...Urgh! Why do people do that!

2. Wet sand

I love beaches but I detest it when you go in the sea and all the sand gets stuck to your feet, just thinking about it makes my skin crawl!

3. Waking up 2 minutes before my alarm

I usually set a few alarms to allow for snooze time but I hate it when I forget and wake up and look at the time and it's like "Oh! I've got to get up now!"

4. Losing my car in a carpark

To be fair I think this only happened once but it was traumatic enough to warrant a place on this list. Nightmare!

5. Primark on a Saturday

It's basically just a giant cattlemarket! People everywhere you step, clothes also everywhere you step and the queues rivalling that of a rollercoaster. A special hate filled shout out also goes to any parents who leave their children unattended and wrecking havoc in the changing rooms.

6. Dealing with crazy members of the general public

There was a time when I liked working in customer service (like when I worked at Disney World) but my previous job had mystery shoppers that actually wore hidden cameras so the manager could watch the videos back. This meant I had to be insanely friendly to even the most horrendous of customers and it took its toll.

7. Parking

I just can't do it! Parallel parking still scares me even though I've been driving for seven years, but my personal worst parking moment was the time I went into a multi story car park (at christmas when it was busy) and there was one parking space left. One! And it didn't even tell me what floor, so I drove round all nine of them until I eventually found it.

8. People driving really close behind me

I hate it! If I'm doing the speed limit then why do people insist on driving right at my bumper like maniacs in a car chase? Sometimes I feel like people genuinely think they're in a real life version of Mario Cart.

9. Someone I know driving behind me

Another car related one! I hate when I look in my mirror and see someone I know in the car behind (even if they're not driving like a nut job - see above), I just find it insanely off putting and worry that I'll do something stupid like crash infront of them. You'd think that I'd be glad to see a friendly face if I crashed but apparently not!

10. When I get a notfication on my phone for something I've already seen on my laptop

I get so excited when I see the little light on my mobile flashing. And then even more excited when I unlock the screen and see the twitter icon. And then even more excited when I see I've got a new follower. And then I realise I've already seen this notification on my laptop and want to bin my phone.

I loved doing that tag, it was probably my favourite yet! I also found out I have a lot of road rage issues, didn't expect there to be so many car related ones! Please tag yourself if you fancy doing it too or let me know some of your loves and hates in the comments!




Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Some Sale Shopping

The titles of my last two posts have been quite alliterative, I just want to point out that this is not intentional and I'm sure my next post will be back to having a none-tongue-twisting title.

I went into town at the weekend and thought I'd do a wee haul to show you all some of the bargains I got. I actually didn't even realise that the sales had started until I was hit from all angles by the big red "SALE NOW ON" signs (I got the hint then). No idea how I missed this news since I'm pretty sure these sales actually happen at the same time every year, but luckily for me I happened to be in town anyway!

I got this pretty blue skirt from Next, I thought it'd be good for work, the dress code is pretty smart-casual so I'm gonna pair it with a shirt or a nice top :

Next, £10
I also got this t shirt from H&M which wasn't in the sale, but it has a sparkly palm tree on it, so I feel like this it was a justified purchase :


H&M, £12.99
While I was in H&M I decided to continue on with the summery theme and got a flowery headband :

H&M, £3.99

My favourite purchase of the day was this beaut of a bag which I picked up in Debenhams. I love Floozie, they have so many pretty bags it was hard to limit myself to just one!


Debenhams, £29
And last but not least I got a dress from Blue Inc:

Blue Inc, £12.99

And that's the lot! (And I've just noticed there's a bit of a flower theme going on there) God, I love the sales! Anyone else picked up any bargains lately?

Monday, 20 July 2015

Dress Diary # 2, The Paisley Print Playsuit

I I know that technically a playsuit isn't a dress, but they say start as you mean go go on, and I absolutely intend to go on featuring things that aren't strictly (or remotely like) dresses.

I wore this playsuit from Blue Inc on Saturday night for a birthday night out, I liked the colours, I thought it looked really summery...even if the weather outside wasn't summery at all. Luckily I brought a jacket (gone are my days of being a student and leaving it at home so I could save the £2 I would have spent in the cloakroom.)




My shoes were from Tesco and cost £20. I don't think I've ever bought shoes from a supermarket before, but I absolutely loved these! Will absolutely be checking out the shoe section again on my next weekly shop.


And my make up for the night :


I look quite serious in this picture, but trust me it was the best of a bad ol' bunch! Hope everyone had a nice weekend, let me know in the comments if you got up to anything exciting!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Outfit of The Day & Coffee in The Mountains

I have a weakness for spotty clothes. Basically whenever I see any item featuring polka dots I have to buy it.

I got a new spotty skirt recently from my favourite boutique in Belfast, Liberty Blue. I adore this shop but the only marginally negative thing I'll say about it is that they have the mirrors outside the changing rooms meaning that if you want to see how something looks you have to come out of the safe cocoon of your cubicle for everyone to see.

The sales assistant always comes over to give advice which is nice and I get why they do it because it's their job to sell, but it always makes me feel a bit shy. Anyway, when I tried this skirt on the girl who was working that day (who was absolutely lovely) told me it was nice in a Minnie Mouse kind of way. I don't know if that selling technique would have worked on the average bear, but luckily for her I view Minnie Mouse as a kind of style icon and headed straight to that till.

Skirt -Liberty Blue, Top & Shoes - H&M

Bit of garden scenery there for a change! I promise we do try to look after it, even if these pictures make it look like I'm standing in an ill maintained jungle.

Friday, 10 July 2015

The Perfect Library - The Dark Eyed Blonde

Has the apocalypse happened? I've actually finished another book from my Perfect Library Challenge! Finally! I'm still having the same problem as the last time regarding finding the time to read, but my boyfriend recently started a new job and because I finish at 5 and he finishes at half 5 I've been going to pick him up (best girlfriend ever!) and have been reading in the carpark while I wait.



The next book I randomly chose from my list of doom was The Dark Eyed Blonde by Benjamin Black. I didn't realise this until halfway through but it's actually a new part in a series of books that were originally written by Raymond Chandler. I don't know how I didn't catch onto this right away, any book that says something like "A Philip Marlowe Novel" on the front cover is pretty much guaranteed to be part of a series!

"Maybe it was time I forgot about Nico Peterson, and his sister, and the Cahuilla Club, and Clare Cavendish. Clare? The rest would be easy to put out of my mind, but not the black eyed blonde."

The book is about a private detective, the aforementioned Philip Marlowe, who lives in LA in the 1950's and has been hired to find a missing person by the man's beautiful ex girlfriend. I  was excited about the settting, I love all that kind of noir detective stuff (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Veronica Mars and Bugsy Malone being the first, maybe not very accurate, examples that spring to mind...) and it didn't disappoint. I also loved the writing style, it's told in first person narrative and the main character had a very distinctive, conversational voice which made reading the detailed descriptions entertaining.

It's hard to compare how this stands up against the originals, since I hadn't, you know heard of them until halfway through the book and still haven't read any of them because I'm apparently currently managing one book every few months, but Stephen King thinks it's a good addition to the series if that means anything to anyone. (I know this because he's quoted on the back cover you see.)

Characterisation wise...Well. I think it's a pretty lonely life being a private detective! There were some entertaining characters that flitted in and out but none were overly memorable save the main character and Clare Cavendish. I did like both those characters though and to be honest I think you kind of have to like the main character on same level if you're going to enjoy this book because you spend a lot of time in his head!

I'm going to be honest here and say that I didn't find the mystery that enthralling, but I think how much I loved the writing made up for that for me. I found this one of those books that was more about the journey than the destination and I would absolutely reread this book, which I think says a lot. Usually I would find the rereadability factor pretty low in mysteries, just because of the nature of the genre, but since I was reading for the writing I would definitely pick it up again a while down the line.

All in all I had a great time reading this (apart from when I kept forgetting who some of the characters were - entirely my fault because I was picking it up so sporadically at the start) and would probably give it a 3.5 out of 5, which would have been a 4 if I'd been more engrossed in the mystery.

I'm making good progress with my next book (which actually isn't on my Perfect Library List) so hopefully I'll have another review up in a slightly more acceptable time frame!

Let me know in the comments if you've read any good books recently!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Dress Diary # 1, The White Boohoo Dress

Welcome to my new series of Dress diaries! I wear dresses a lot so, pre warning everyone here, there's probably going to be an excessive amount of these!

I bought a dress from Boohoo a while ago and, after trying it on was all ready to send it back until my boyfriend pointed out that I was wearing it back to front. Seriously. Even though I saw the picture of it on the model on the website when I ordered it?! Anyway, after learning it actually looked alright when worn the right way round, I decided to wear it out on Saturday night.

This was £25 when I bought it, but it's now on sale for £10 (trying to stop myself buying the purple version as well) and can be bought here.



The only bad thing about this was, with the long sleeves, I actually felt quite warm. I'm not too worried about that though 'cause, let's be honest, this won't be an issue about 90% of the time in the UK!

I wore it with my spotty shoes, which I bought from ASOS for my birthday night out but then didn't end up wearing :


And this was my make up for the night:


Primer : L'Oreal Paris Lumi Magique Primer
Foundation : YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat
Blusher: LOreal Perfection True Match Blush in Peach
Lips: Bourjois Rouge Edition Lipstick in Rouge Podium
Eyelashes: Eylure Volume 101 Lashes
Eyeshadow: Urban Decay Naked Palette
Eyeliner: Collection Fast Stroke Liner

I got my YSL foundation from the counter in Debenhams, I went in to get my colour matched and she gave me a small sample to take away! I wasn't expecting that at all, I loved the fact that I could go home and properly try it out without being pressured to buy it there and then. (I hate that! And I also hate disappointing people so I'm one of those mugs that always ends up buying something I don't really want!) I've been really impressed with it though, so I'm definitely going to buy it and I've noticed that if you order on the YSL website you actually get 15% off until the 5th of July! Happy days!

Hope everyone's having a good week so far and please link me to any of your own outfit posts in the comments if you like!

Monday, 6 July 2015

The Tall Ships

Yesterday we headed into Belfast to check out the Tall Ships festival.  To give a bit more context, the Tall Ships is a race organised on a yearly basis (although it's only been in Belfast three times) by Sail Training International and iconic ships from all over the world are docked, giving people the chance to board them.

The weather was really strange, it was raining one minute then the next it was so sunny that I was cursing the fact that I was wearing tights! And while we're on the topic of clothes, I am raging I didn't wear anything nautical themed! Remember those shorts I bought last week with the anchors on them? Yeah, I wore the other new shorts that I bought for reasons unknown.

Bizarre fashion choices aside, I had a great day! There was a buzzing festival atmosphere, with live music, food stands and bars.

Top - Primark, Shorts and Jacket - H&M, Sunglasses - A random dodgy shop in Thailand





We went for a wander around the market place as well, which was bustling with activity. It wasn't a far cry from the christmas market actually, there were a lot of similar stands. I got some food to chomp on :



Just looking at that picture is making my mouth water! It was slices of potato mixed with onions, bacon, cheese and cream and it was divine.

 My boyfriend got me a present at one of the stands, a new ring! I love rings that are a bit unusual looking and I really liked how this was made with amber. The woman at the stand was lovely too and was coping well with the mad rush of people looking to buy things!


And look who I met!


'Cause nothing says nautical festival like a giagantic penguin dressed like a tourist!

I went out on a wee night out on Saturday night, so keep your peepers peeled for an outift post coming up soon! And let me know in the comments if you got up to anything exciting this weekend!

Have The Town

Thursday, 2 July 2015

8 Photos of Happiness

A big thank you to Elle and and Michelle who nominated me for the 8 photos of happiness tag. This has been my favourite tag yet, I could have picked 8 photos just from when I lived in Florida alone, it was so tough to narrow it down!

I decided not to edit these other than cropping them a bit. I thought I'd just show you all my happy moments, dodgy pictures and all. (Not that I'm saying my usual photos are amazing, I don't think I'm going to be taking up a career as a photographer anytime soon.)


This is me and my room mate from when I lived in Florida posing infront of the apartment we lived in. We had the whole thing decorated like a beach and I have so many happy memories (and lack of memories) from living here.


This picture was taken the summer me and one of my best friends worked as supervisors on a berry farm. It was such a hilarious, crazy summer and this was taken at a party in my squad's caravan - we were partying most nights and then in work at 6am the night day, I don't know how we did it!


This is me and one of my best pals in Tenessee. A group of 8 of us drove through from Orlando and stayed in a log cabin with a giant hot tub and a porch swing up in the Smoky Mountains! We went to Dollywood which was epic, Dolly Parton is a living legend.


This is another photo from Orlando taken at a ridiculous Christmas in July party we went to. My memory of the night gets foggy but there was definitely some kind of ill advised christmas karaoke involved.



How could this not be included?! The time I went to Ramsay Street, home to legends Susan and Karl Kennedy. Interesting fact : Apparently the people that own the houses get paid so much for allowing filming to take place that they all have yachts which they have to hide in their garage. (Personally I think Neighbours on a yacht sounds great, guaranteed to end in some kind of capsizing disaster)


These were taken in a photobooth in a bar in New York. It was back when my boyfriend was still living in Florida and we were doing the whole long distance thing for a few months till he came home. We met halfway through in New York and had a ball of a time.


This was taken on Valentines Day in Australia when we travelled the Great Ocean Road.


This was a photo from my last day working at Walt Disney World. This costume is what they think people from the UK wear.

Aaaaaaaaaaand I have to do a bonus photo :


Couldn't leave him out!

Hope that was all at least vaguely interesting! If you fancy doing this tag then please feel free to tag yourself and make sure you link me to it because I'd love to read it!