Tuesday, 30 December 2014

New Year's Resolutions 2015

Where has 2014 gone? I still feel as though we ought to be on about 2012 rather than 2015. Here are my resolutions for this year. Some of them are repeats; I really did not keep to my resolutions for last year. I think posting them on here does help me stay motivated as I can check back and remember what my goals were, and it is always interesting to check back at the end of next year to see how many were successful.

I had no idea what photo to use for this post, so here's one from my recent walk in the snow, and most likely my last walk of 2014!

2014 has been a good year for me. I completed university and graduated with a first, I started my MA course at a new university (which I thoroughly enjoy) and we adopted Bree. Next year I will hopefully graduate from my masters course, I may leave university and I will most likely be venturing into permanent work (if I am lucky enough to find work). It's going to be an interesting year, and I hope that it is as enjoyable as 2014 has been. Here are my resolutions:

1. Organise my time so I have at least two hours a week free to write. I am referring only to creative writing. I spend at least half of my time writing for university, and when I have finished my university work for the day I tend to fall into a book, or watch a film. I need to get back into creative writing, as I really do miss it and I always feel a lot more relaxed after writing.

2. Make more of an effort with my appearance (again). I have this resolution every single year. I just never seem to be able to persevere with this one. I've always had issues with my appearance, and I think that's why I'm not able to make sure that I look remotely presentable every day. I do not think that I will ever be happy with my appearance, but I think I should at least attempt to not hate it.

3. Make detailed plans for my future. I finish my MA in 2015, which is a frightening thought! I'm planning on applying for several internships, but I also need to research graduate schemes, and decide whether or not I want to apply for funding for a PHD. I'm aware that I need to get this finished in the next week or so.

4. Exercise more. I've really been neglecting my exercise routine. I usually swim at least once a week, but swimming has become quite unappealing with the cold weather, and my local leisure centre is usually full at this time of the year, which is problem when you are only able to swim next to the wall or in the shallow end of the pool. I am walking more now that we have Bree, however.

5. Go out and visit interesting places. I adore going out and visiting places that I have never been to before, or places that I have visited but never fully explored. I would love to visit London in summer and see The Globe for example. I would also like to visit Hardwick Hall again.

6. Try to eat more regular meals. I am always forgetting to have dinner, or breakfast. Sometimes both. Whenever I'm working on my projects for university, or reading, I tend to forget about meals. I also tend to snack instead, which is a problem. I would also like to start drinking more water.

7. Learn how to cook. I am not a terrible cook, and I love baking, but I hardly ever cook at home. My sister adores cooking, and since we eat together, she always seems to be the one who cooks, and I end up cleaning instead. I've always preferred baking to cooking. I also think that cooking would also increase my motivation to actually eat meals.

8. Stop spending entire days working on university projects. I always end up feeling tired and anxious whenever I do this, but I continue to do it anyway. I am going to try to get out of the house at least once a day, even if it is just to take Bree for a brisk walk.

9.  Start saving. I would really like to travel in the future, so I think it would be nice to start saving for it. I should also stop buying so many books, but that will never happen, so I will endeavour instead to stop buying items that I have a near duplicate of (cosmetics for example), and also to sell or donate some of my possessions that I no longer use, or want.

10. Do something fun every month. Sometimes it feels as though my entire life consists of attending lectures, working on essays, and reading. I would like to do something interesting every month just to break up my routine and add interest to my life, even if it is just visiting a museum, going somewhere new for coffee, or spending more time with Figgy in the garden.

I would like to know what your resolutions are if you have any! I hope you all have a wonderful start to the New Year, and I wish you all the best for 2015.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

One Ring To Rule Them All

Hello, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/Holiday! It has been quite some time since I posted any jewellery reviews, and I thought that I would get back into reviewing my recent purchases by posting a review of one of the most spectacular pieces I own. As some of you who follow me on Instagram may know, I ordered Blood Milk's 'Belonging To The Darkness' ring after lusting after it for at least a year. I ordered it during their Halloween sale, and it arrived a few weeks ago. I purchased the sterling silver and black CZ ring.

I had heard several reports from others about how truly captivating this piece is, but, as always, I was a little sceptical. I had also been hesitant to purchase the ring for numerous reasons. Firstly, because I have such tiny fingers, and most rings look rather peculiar on my little hands, and secondly, because I had never ordered anything from the United States before, and I was concerned about postage, customs charges and the possibility of the package being lost. Of course, there was also the risk of the ring not suiting me, or that it would not fit. In the end, after seeing yet another beautiful image of the ring on Instagram, I finally relented and ordered one as a late graduation gift to myself. After all, graduating from university with a first class degree was the proudest accomplishment of my life, and I wanted to own something special to remind myself that I am capable of more than I give myself credit for (I am my own worst critic), and as proof that whilst hard work seldom appears to be worthwhile at the time, if you have a little faith, patience and determination you will almost always achieve the results you desire, even if it takes a little longer than you had expected.

I ordered a US size 4, as I am an I in UK sizes. The ring sits comfortably on my finger, although there is a tiny bit of room (not enough to fall off my finger or to be uncomfortable). I'm actually glad that there is a tiny bit of room as should my fingers become swollen the ring does not become painful, and I can remove the ring easily.

The sheer level of detail in this ring is astounding. I still find myself completely captivated by it even after owning it for over a month; I cannot help but stop and admire it whenever it catches the light. It isn't light, but it isn't too heavy for my little fingers either, and I adore the way it looks completely different from each angle. I do not think the beauty of this ring can be described in words alone; you really do have to see this ring to comprehend how truly lovely it is. I had originally intended to only wear this ring on special occasions, but I have found that I have instead taken to wearing it every day. It feels quite natural on my finger now, and I do not think it will ever be resigned to my jewellery box for occasional wear. It is, of course, expensive, but it is a piece that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

I am beyond happy that I chose this particular piece as a symbol for completing my degree. I am now tempted to purchase one of the planchette or talon moon necklaces. I may invest in another piece should I graduate from my MA course with an acceptable grade next year!

You can purchase this ring from the Blood Milk website.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The Christmas Tag

I hope you are all having a wonderful (and hopefully not too stressful) week! I thought it would be particularly apt for my final post before Christmas to be the Christmas tag, which I've seen on several blogs recently. I'm getting up early tomorrow to travel to Hertfordshire to stay with my Aunt for Christmas. It's our first Christmas (and first long car journey) with Bree, so it's going to be interesting!

1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie/s?

My favourite Christmas film is The Polar Express. We watch it every year on Christmas Eve. I do love Home Alone 2: Lost in New York and Miracle on 34th Street though!

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

Christmas morning! We do a family secret santa on Christmas Eve so we all open one present. It's usually something funny and has to be under £5.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?

I don't think I've ever had a bad Christmas, so I treasure all of my Christmas memories. I used to love waking up at my Aunt's house and racing down the stairs with my cousins and my sister and peeking in the dining room (where the tree is) to see the presents. We don't open gifts until after breakfast, so as children we had to really be patient! We also have a rule in our family where you can't collect your own presents from under the tree, you have to find a gift for someone else and take it to them. You can only open your gifts when somebody fetches one for you.

4. Favourite festive food?

I love chocolate oranges, which we eat every year. I also love pigs in blankets.

5. Favourite Christmas gift?

My camera is probably my favourite Christmas gift. I've certainly had a lot of use out of it!

6. Favourite Christmas scent?

I adore the Christmas Cookie scent from Yankee Candle. I can't really think of any other Christmas scents!

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

Yes! My Aunt makes our Christmas cake very year, and we add the icing and decorate it on Christmas Eve. We also exchange secret santa gifts, watch Christmas films, and finally curl up to watch The Polar Express just before bed. I think we'll have a slightly different tradition this year which will include taking Bree out for a Christmas Eve walk.

8. What tops your tree?

A very wonky star. We used to have an angel, but she has somehow vanished over the years. The star is pretty, but it never sits straight so it always makes our tree look wonky! I'm always a bit concerned that it's going to fall on me whenever I walk past.

9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?

As far as I can remember, I never asked for anything extravagant. Except perhaps a kitten, which was when we still had Thomasina (who would have mostly definitely been opposed to another cat in the house, so it's a good thing my parents did not listen to me).

10. What's the best part about Christmas for you? 

Spending time with my family. I don't get to see my Dad's side of the family very much as they live a lot further south than we do, so it's always lovely spending Christmas with them. On Christmas Eve we decorate the Christmas cake, exchange secret santa gifts, and snuggle down in the evening to watch The Polar Express. It's my Dad's birthday on Christmas Day too so it's a particularly nice day for us! I also love buying presents for people. I would much rather give gifts than receive them, which some find strange!

 I don't usually tag people on these, but my sister has informed me that I need to tag her, so I tag October 10th.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas/Holiday!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Feeling Festive!

I hope you are all having a lovely holiday season so far! We finally put up all of our Christmas decorations last weekend, and yesterday my sister and I had a rather festive day out in London. I hadn't visited London in more than year, so I thought I was overdue a visit. The train is extremely expensive, so we opted for the coach instead, which was more than a quarter of the price. It took just over three hours to get there, which was quite uncomfortable on a coach! When we arrived we decided to take a trip to King's Cross, as we had been meaning to visit for quite some time even though it was quite out of our way to visit. Our reason for visiting was Platform 9 and 3/4. We had the obligatory photo on the platform, and then visited the shop. I bought a cute little Hedwig keyring and a print. It was quite expensive. If you are travelling to the Studio Tour from King's Cross, I'd recommend you wait for the tour shop as the quality of the merchandise and the pricing is a lot more reasonable at the tour.

After finding something to eat at King's Cross we decided to head to Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park. A few friends of mine had already visited and recommended it, so we thought it was worth a visit. It certainly was. It was incredibly festive, and had a wonderful atmosphere. The stalls were incredibly expensive, so I didn't buy anything except a cup of hot chocolate, but the food stalls in particular looked lovely. It was a lot bigger than I was expecting! The highlight was definitely the Christmas tree. It was spectacular!

We didn't have time to go on any of the rides, but we did buy tickets for the Magical Ice Kingdom. We were warned on entry that it would be very, very cold. I had gloves in my bag, but no hat and presumed that I would be fine as I was wearing my winter coat. It was freezing. It was worth the wait and the cold, however. I have mentioned my love for Narnia numerous times on this blog, and I felt like I had been transported to Narnia during the wintery rule of Jadis. The Ice Kingdom also features an ice slide and ice thrones where you can have your photo taken. It was incredibly impressive. I apologise for the sheer number of photos; I couldn't quite decide which ones to share!

After leaving the Ice Kingdom we went straight to the hot chocolate stall to warm up, and jumped back on the tube to Oxford Circus. This was not the best idea, as Oxford Street is usually very busy, but towards Christmas it is unbearable. The Christmas lights were very impressive, however. We ended up giving up trying to look around and headed back to Victoria to find something to eat before we had to board the coach back home.

It was a very enjoyable day. I absolutely recommend visiting the Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park, and definitely make time for the Ice Kingdom if you are visiting!
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