Thursday, 31 December 2015

New Year's Resolutions 2016



Where has 2015 gone? I feel like always start my New Year's posts this way. I'm always surprised at how quickly a year passes. I thought I would continue with tradition and post my resolutions for the coming year. I usually post rather serious resolutions, but I thought it would be nice to mix up the serious ones with some lighter (and certainly more achievable) resolutions this year. Some of these are repeats from last year, as always! Perhaps one of my resolutions ought to be to keep to my resolutions?

Anyway, in no particular order, here are my resolutions for 2016.

1. Spend more time with Figgy.

This is one of my more fun resolutions for this year. I often feel rather sorry for Figgy as I do not spend as much time with her as I would like. I spend a lot of time walking Bree, so I would like to spend at least ten minutes a day giving Figgy a brush or a cuddle. She's a very affectionate cat so she would love a bit more time for attention.

2. Stop listening to other people. 

This is something that I have noticed very recently. I tend to particularly harsh on myself because of what other people think about my life and the choices I've made, and I let it influence the way I think. I need to stop feeling so self concious all of the time and care less about what other people think, as it really does not matter.

3. Blog more and find time to write.

How many times have I said that I will blog more frequently? I would love to spend at least ten minutes a day planning posts or writing. Perhaps 2016 will be the year when I finally sit down and write up a blog timetable. Maybe.

4. Visit some unique little bookshops.

I thought this would be another fun resolution to have, although it might not be good for my finances! There's so many little bookshops nearby that I haven't visited. We visit Derbyshire quite a lot and I've ended up with a bit of a list of interesting bookshops. I need to actually get around to visiting them!

5. Plan at least two day trips out.

I have this resolution most years. I have managed to organise a few trips out this year, so I would like to do it again next year depending on finances. I'm trying to save to go back to university (for my phD) so I will have to see. It's always nice to get out for the day and visit somewhere new though.


6. Make plans for the future.

I've definitely made this resolution before. I need to sit and seriously think about what my plans are for the next few years. I would also like to find a job that I enjoy. I don't mind working in recruitment but it isn't as fulfilling as I would like, and I would love to be able to write. I've applied for 44 jobs so far this week so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!


7. Decorate.

I wouldn't usually count decorating as a resolution, but I think 'attempt to decorate' certainly counts since I have been thinking about it for over a year. I bought some lovely wallpaper back in 2014, and it is still inside my wardrobe waiting to be used. I keep telling myself that I do not have the time to paint, and need to find someone tall to help me (painting when you are 4'11 is a very tedious job) and it's now over a year later.

8.  Attempt to be a little more sociable. 

This one is most likely to be the one that I will struggle with, or give up on entirely. I almost always enjoy seeing my friends, but I would never call someone myself. I have a nice time when I'm out with people, but when I'm away from them I find it difficult to see myself as someone other people would like or want to spend time with, so I very rarely chase people or make arrangements myself. It's a little bizarre. I would like to try to speak to people more in 2016 regardless of how uncomfortable and anxious it makes me.

9. Find a new hobby (or rediscover an old one).

I think this one would be fun and add a little more variety to my life. My main hobbies are reading and writing. I would like to start baking more, or go out with my camera a little more frequently (I bought a new camera recently and I love it). I haven't quite decided on this one yet!

I hope you had a lovely Christmas, and I hope you all have a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve. I'm spending my evening curled up watching a film with Bree and Figgy. Bree really hates fireworks, so I'm staying in with her so she feels comfortable and safe. I don't drink, so I'm more than satisfied to spend my evening with a film, a pizza and dog/cat cuddles.

What are your resolutions for 2016?

Friday, 18 December 2015

Hogwarts in the Snow


It's less than a week until Christmas! I cannot believe how quickly the time has gone. I've finished all of my shopping and my wrapping, so I'm hoping to relax and enjoy myself next week.

I went back to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour yesterday, and thought I would share some of my photos with you. I couldn't quite decide which ones to share, so I apologise for the rather ridiculous amount of photos!

There's a lot of spoilers regarding the studio tour in this post, so please do not read it if you are planning to visit and would prefer it to be a surprise.



Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Why I Love December

It's my favourite time of the year again! It also seems that I must once again apologise for my inactivity on this blog. I've been busy with work and illness, and time just slipped away. This post was supposed to be posted on the 1st of December, so I really am behind!

The lovely Violette posted a list of reasons why she loves October (here), and I thought it was a really wonderful idea and thought I would write a similar post about why I love December. Violette's blog is one of my favourites, and I definitely recommend catching up on her Blogmas series if you enjoy Christmas as much as I do!

So here's my reasons for why December is my favourite month. I will have to apologise for the photos, it was difficult to find any 'normal' ones, so they all somewhat festive (and you've probably seen them all before on previous posts). I promise that I will post something new soon!



1. Dark and cold days.




There's something particularly cosy about walking into a warm house after a long, cold walk with Bree. I adore curling up with a book, hot chocolate and oversized blanket. I always find it difficult to relax in summer because it stays light for so long, so I really cherish dark autumn and winter evenings.Also, you can't really drink hot chocolate and curl up in slippers and a blanket in summer!

2. Christmas.



This one is rather obvious isn't it? Christmas is my favourite holiday. It's also the only time that I really get to see all of my family in one place, and since everyone else enjoys Christmas as much as I do, we always have a really wonderful time. I always enjoy the festive atmosphere - I love seeing Christmas lights and hearing festive music everywhere! I also enjoy buying presents. I find wrapping gifts somewhat therapeutic, so I look forward to it every year.

3. Food.



I'm not a big eater, and I'm really fussy when it comes to food, but I love Christmas food. It is one of few times of the year when it is socially acceptable to eat chocolate for breakfast. I always feel inspired to bake at this time of the year, and there's so many cute baking sets on offer. I'm making my traditional gingerbread cookies this weekend, and possibly some fudge to take with me when I go away for Christmas.

4. Films.




I apologise for the photo above; it was the only one I had that would fit! This point ties into the first one, but I find that watching films is so much more fun at this time of the year. I don't know if it is because it is darker, so I can relax and enjoy watching films more, but films are definitely better to watch in winter. I rarely watch films during the warmer months, but I watch films almost daily during December. It's nice to curl up with a hot drink and watch a festive film. There's also a lot of films on television at Christmas too, I usually record as many as possible to watch throughout the year.

5. Markets.



Again, this is related to Christmas but I thought it was worth a separate point. There's markets all over the place at this time of the year (we even had a farmers' market at work last week) and I love it. I like that you can buy something a little different from markets, and I love the food. They always smell amazing and it is much more relaxing than being trapped inside a store. I still haven't visited the Nottingham Christmas market though because it is too busy in the city centre for me at this time of the year!

6. The New Year.



This one is a bit of  a strange one for me. I don't actually like New Year's Eve and prefer to spend it curled up watching a film with my pets. I don't drink and I don't particularly like socialising, so I usually have a quiet evening and sleep through the New Year. However, I do like the feel of having a fresh start in January, and being able to leave all the negative aspects of the previous year behind. It's a good time for reflection, and I like being able to look forward to the year ahead.

I hope you are all having a wonderful December! I have another festive post planned for the weekend (it's something I'm really excited about). I hope you all have a lovely week!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

November.

Hello everyone! I hope you are all having a wonderful November. I've had a hectic month as I've had health problems and work. I'm glad that we are finally moving into December, which is my favourite month. Aside from health problems, I have had a very quiet month. I haven't been able to go  out quite as much as I would like, but I did spend a lovely day in Manchester at the John Rylands Library Gothic Exhibition. I thought I would share a few photos on here as it really is a beautiful building! My camera unfortunately broke recently, so these were all taken on my phone. I will have to go back with a working camera one day!




The John Rylands Library was opened in 1900, and is now part of the university. The exhibition was mainly literature based, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I took several Gothic literature modules during my undergraduate degree, and it was nice to see several of my favourites on display. The building is truly spectacular, and the perfect setting for the exhibition. I was very good and did not buy anything from the shop at the end of the exhibition. I did write down some details of some of the editions that were on display, as I saw a lovely edition of Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber. I adored the aesthetic of this building; it is the perfect library setting. I think the John Rylands Library has even surpassed the beautiful Bromley House Library as my favourite library building!

I'm hoping to have more posts planned for December. I've had quite a difficult month, and I'm looking forward to feeling festive and going on a few day trips! I'm visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour again in a few weeks time and I have my graduation to look forward to. Christmas is my favourite time of the year (some of you may remember my very excited Christmas posts from last year) so I'm hoping things start picking up for me. I would also like to apologise for my lack of activity on here and on Instagram. I've been struggling to find the time to reply to comments or write any posts. I do have several posts planned so I'm hoping to have more time free in December!

I hope you all have all had a wonderful November!

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Malice Necklace from The Crypt of Curiosities

Hello again! I hope you are all having a wonderful November. I've been really busy recently, but I decided to have a quiet weekend and post a review of my most recent jewellery purchase. As you may already know, The Crypt of Curiosities is one of my favourite little online jewellery shops. They recently posted a discount code for Halloween, and after seeing this necklace on Instagram, I just couldn't resist making a purchase!


I purchased the Malice necklace. The necklace features a large faceted black stone wrapped in a delicate silver frame which is adored by two detailed and elaborate snakes/dragons. A black teardrop hangs from the centre of the frame, and the chain is adorned by several small black beads. The chain features a long extender and is finished by two tiny black glass beads.



This piece has become one of my favourites in my collection. It's well made, ornate and incredibly striking. It makes a simple outfit look interesting and adds a touch of elegance to my wardrobe. The black faceted glass in the centre sparkles and shines even in the muted autumn sunshine. This piece actually reminds me of some of the pricier Alchemy Gothic pieces, as it is both elaborate and unique. I have always loved pieces like this, I love the opulence and beauty of larger necklaces and this one certainly does not disappoint. It also has a rather Slytherin quality to it which I like! I've had people comment on how lovely it is every time I have worn it. It is definitely going to be a contender for my graduation necklace!

As always, this necklace is very well made and the chain is the perfect length for me. I usually adjust most of my necklaces, but I have never had to adjust any of my Crypt pieces. It's a little more expensive than my other Crypt pieces, but is definitely worth it. It looks a lot more expensive, and is most certainly comparable to some of the Alchemy Gothic pieces which sometimes cost twice as much. I'm very pleased with this one!

This necklace costs £22.99 and can be purchased from The Crypt of Curiosities.

I hope you are having a lovely weekend!

Disclosure: I bought this necklace myself.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Mortis Comoedia by Aurora Walderhaug



Happy Halloween! The spookiest season is upon us once again (it seems to come around faster every year) and I thought I would celebrate today by reviewing a suitably dark read.

I was contacted a week or so ago and asked whether or not I would be interested in reviewing a new comic named Mortis Comoedia by Aurora Walderhaug. As many of you know, I am always searching for new reading material and I did not hesitate to agree. I was provided with an electronic version, which was a little unusual for me (I do not own a Kindle or an E-reader) but it worked wonderfully. I did find myself reading it on my laptop when I was supposed to be filling out forms for work though! I was kindly provided with some images to use in this post so you can see some of the artwork for yourself.





The comic begins with Walderhaug explaining the background to the comic and the origin of her own fascination with death and skeletal forms, by stating that ‘those of us who want to depict the body, and the reality of life in death in a convincing way, are as capable of avoiding the skeleton as they are of avoiding death itself.’ I loved the beauty and the eloquence of this sentence. This is actually one of the nicest aspects of the comic, as I adore personal elements like this. It gives the reader a wonderful insight into the creation of the comic and gives the reader a unique connection with the author. She explains her first real glimpse of death and how this influenced her, which resulted in the publication of this comic. As somebody who has always been intrigued by the notion of death, I found this section really insightful and lovely.

Mortis Comoedia is composed of several short tales, each featuring the activities of Walderhaug’s Grim Reaper character. My favourite little short tale is ‘Mask of Death’, which is perfect for this season as it details the Grim Reaper’s antics on Halloween. All of these tales made me smile (which is a rare feat since I have quite a specific sense of humour) and I imagine these tales would delight both children and adults alike. The use of short tales means that it is a perfect read for a busy autumn evening when you have little time to spare. They have (rather ironically considering the subject matter) been brightening up my hectic October evenings!

Furthermore, one of my favourite elements of Mortis Comoedia is the illustrations between the comics. These illustrations all match the strip that precedes them, and they tie the strips together perfectly. They are startlingly beautiful, and I would love to frame some of them. The comic is a captivating blend of beauty, elegance and dark humour. It is incredibly unique, and is illustrated with a wonderful elegance and flair. The end of the comic also includes several full length illustrations of several incarnations of the Grim Reaper character, which are astonishingly detailed and capture the edgy yet witty essence of Mortis Comoedia. My favourite one of these is definitely the ‘Prim Reaper’ which shows the character dressed in a corset, long skirt and holding a compact mirror.

Mortis Comoedia is exquisitely detailed and beautifully compiled. The comic strips are elegant and charming whilst retaining their distinct dark wit, and also offer a more serious undertone through the examination of the oddities of modern life and society. This is particularly apparent through one of the strips named ‘The Walking Dead’, which shows the Grim Reaper becoming fascinated by an iPhone. It sounds ridiculous, but it really does make you consider how truly silly our obsession with technology can be! These moments promote an intriguing sense of self awareness and parody modern life flawlessly. 

I do not usually read comics, but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I would actually struggle to think of a single aspect that I did not like! I would definitely recommend this comic to you if you enjoy satire surrounding death. It is beautifully presented and wonderfully macabre. I highly recommend it for those of you who enjoy satire and want to embrace the lighter side of death. It is worth looking at even if you do not like comics – I would buy this for the outstanding artwork alone. It’s beautifully decorated and is exactly my kind of dark aesthetic. It also ends with one of my favourite Shakespearean quotes from Macbeth, ‘Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player / That struts and frets his hour upon the stage / And then is heard no more.’ I think this quote captures the quality and atmosphere of Mortis Comoedia perfectly. Death is nothing to fear when we accept that life is merely an illusion. Mortis Comoedia captures our peculiar fascination with death and the absurdity of life perfectly and is an excellent read if you are inclined to the darker side of life. As Samuel Butler stated, 'If life must not be taken too seriously, then so neither must death'. It’s a little too late to recommend it as a Halloween gift, but I think it would make an excellent Christmas present.

Mortis Comoedia costs £9.99 and can be purchased here.

I hope you all have a wonderful Halloween!

Disclosure: Mortis Comoedia was sent to me for reviewing purposes. This does not affect my opinion whatsoever.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Autumn Days.



I hope you all having a wonderful start to the week. I'm currently enjoying a very busy couple of the weeks, which I love. It sounds peculiar, but I really do thrive on being busy. October is my second favourite month, and I tend to find that I am so much happier in the autumn months. The days are slowly getting darker, and there is nothing I adore more than curling up with a book and a warm drink on a chilly autumn evening. Last Thursday was my most anticipated autumn day so far. I travelled to Leeds to meet a couple of lovely ladies from Instagram and to explore the beautiful Harewood House. I apologise for the quality of some of these photos; my camera is still struggling to focus.



The house was truly spectacular. I wish I had been able to capture it through my photos, but it just wasn't possible. I loved the two libraries in particular. The level of detail was astounding, and I could have quite happily curled up in there with a book all day. The house was very quiet and peaceful. The views overlooking the gardens were especially magnificent.

The house is also home to a bird garden and a variety of other beautiful gardens, complete with fountains and beautiful red ivy. There is also a cute little tearoom (with delicious food) and a gift shop. There is also a bookshop, but it was sadly closed. I ought to be thankful as this prevented me from attempting to bring as many books as possible home with me on the train. The bird garden was really interesting. It did seem a little odd to see penguins in the grounds of a beautiful house though!



Before we headed back to the train station, we decided to explore the little church nestled in the grounds of Harewood House. It was empty, so we took a peek inside. I am not religious, but I've always found churches to have a serene quality. This church was small and quiet, and very beautiful. It also had quite an old and interesting graveyard hidden around the back. It is such a beautiful little church.



I cannot put into words how much of an enjoyable day I had. It was so nice to spend the day which such lovely people and to explore such a beautiful house. We actually ran out of time and were not able to fully explore the gardens, so I think a trip back would in the future would be wonderful. It really is a magnificent place to visit, and I highly recommend it if you are considering visiting!

I hope you all having an enjoyable October. I cannot believe that Halloween is only a week away! This year has flown by. I'm looking forward to seeing what the final two months of the year bring. Autumn always leaves me feeling refreshed and excited for the rest of the year.

Have you visited anywhere interesting this October?

Sunday, 4 October 2015

The Crypt of Curiosities

Hello again! I know I said that I would post something other than jewellery reviews, but this one has been floating around in my draft folder for so long that I thought I would finally edit the photos and get it posted.



The Crypt of Curiosities is one of my favourite small businesses to order from. I wear my other Crypt of Curiosities necklaces I own at least twice a week. Clare is one of the nicest people I have come across on Instagram, and her work is beautiful. I ordered a pair of earrings a few months ago and she very kindly included a necklace in my order. She recently released a new collection of black and white hand painted items titled 'Black No.1' and I couldn't resist ordering a new piece to add to my collection.


This necklace is from the new 'Black No. 1' collection. It features a black bat lined with white, with a heart cut out of the centre. It hangs on a black chain, which is adorned by two beads. It is a hand painted piece. I have never seen a design like this one before. It is a lovely piece. It hangs beautifully and is incredibly eye-catching. The paint work is neat and the black and white combination is incredibly striking. It is sophisticated whilst retaining an edgy aesthetic.



This necklace features a purple faceted stone wrapped in a detailed silver frame. Two little purple beads hang from the end of the silver chain. This piece is unbelievably beautiful. It's stunning. The purple glass stone sparkles in sunlight, and the silver detailing on the necklace is delicate and intricate. This is one of my favourite necklaces in my collection. It's dainty yet striking. It is just the right size, and complements a pair of dramatic earrings wonderfully. It suits both formal and casual occasions. It was incredibly difficult to photograph, and none of my photos do it justice. It is too beautiful to truly capture.


I also ordered a pair of the ankh dangle earrings. They feature a little ankh cross suspended from an elegant silver connector and framed by a delicate silver chain. They are incredibly elegant, and for such detailed earrings are not at all heavy. They are comfortable to wear and look especially striking when accompanied by an eye-catching necklace. Most long earrings get lost in my thick hair, but these stand out beautifully. I may end up wearing these for my graduation. I have not managed to find a way to wear these to casual events yet, but they are wonderful when paired with a formal outfit. They have definitely filled a gap in my collection of earrings!

I'm incredibly pleased with all of these pieces. The purple necklace in particular has become a favourite in my jewellery collection. All of these items arrived incredibly quickly and were beautifully and carefully packaged. As always, the quality is wonderful for such affordable pieces.  I adore the necklaces from The Crypt of Curiosities as they all fit my petite frame without needing to be adjusted. They are all the perfect size. All of these pieces are affordable, and would make wonderful *whispers* Christmas presents.

The bat and heart necklace costs £9.00 and can be purchased here. The ankh earrings also cost £9.00 and can be purchased here. The purple necklace is not currently available but I will update this post if it comes into stock again.

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!

Disclosure: I purchased the bat necklace and the earrings myself. The purple necklace was included in my order when I purchased the earrings.


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