Saturday, 31 December 2016

New Year's Resolutions 2017


2016 has gone by incredibly quickly. This year has been a varied one for me. I've had some good moments but generally it hasn't been the best year, which I think has been the case for a lot of people. I'm looking forward to drawing a line under 2016 and moving on to 2017 with a clean slate.

I'm continuing with my New Year's Eve tradition and posting my resolutions. As always, I try to keep mine somewhat achievable. Some are repeats from last year that didn't quite make it! In no particular order:

1. Travel.

I've always wanted to travel, but I was stuck in temporary work for nearly a year after I left university and I just couldn't afford it. I was made permanent in October and I can finally afford to go on holiday. I haven't been on holiday in years and it would be wonderful to go away. I've had a travel list since I was tiny and it would be lovely to start checking off a few places. For example, I've always wanted to go Iceland and it would be wonderful to start planning it. I would definitely be going alone though, so if anybody has any advice for travelling solo I'd appreciate it!

2. Stop obsessing over my mistakes.

I'm a perfectionist, and I find it difficult to admit when I have made a mistake. I will sit and obsess over every little mistake I make. I really need to start understanding that I do not need to be perfect all the time, and that making mistakes is ok.

3. Read more.

This is a bit of an odd one for me as I spent every spare moment I have reading. However, I'd like to start reading things outside my interests and actually start working through my book list instead of re-reading old favourites.

4. Find a better work/life balance.

Now that I have a permanent position I need to make sure that I use my weekends wisely so I enjoy the break. I need to find a balance between relaxing and getting out of the house to do something interesting. 

5. Blog more and find time to write.

I had this resolution last year. I've been busy adjusting to my new job and I've really neglected my blog. I'd like to dedicate at least one day a week to working through my draft posts. I have so many reviews to post!

6. Pass my driving test.

I passed my theory test last year and I still haven't passed my practical test. I became very ill just after passing my theory test last year and I didn't recover until January. This meant that I wasn't able to continue with my lessons. I've been desperately trying to find a new instructor (my last one did not make me feel comfortable at all) however I have been unable to find an automatic instructor in Nottingham with good reviews. I'd like to pass my test before my theory test runs out!

7. Go to more concerts.

I used to go to concerts a lot in my teenage years and I really miss it. I went to the Download Festival again last year and it made me remember how much I enjoy it!

8. Exercise more.

My fitness has really dropped recently. I used to go the gym once a week but I stopped a few months ago. I'd at least like to begin swimming again once a week as I find it really relaxing.

9. Plan ahead.

I would like to spend some time looking ahead to the future. I still live with my parents, but I'm currently putting money away so that I can afford to move out. I'd also like to get my PhD but it depends on my finances.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope you all have a lovely and safe New Year's Eve. As always, I'm spending my evening watching a film with Bree and Figgy. I don't drink, and the pets hate fireworks so the best option for me is to stay at home with them so they are comfortable. Cat/dog cuddles and a pizza is a perfect evening anyway!

What are your resolutions for 2017?

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Winter Wonderland

How is Christmas only two weeks away? I've always loved December, but it always flies by. One of my favourites things to do in December is visiting markets, and I decided to book a day out in London to explore Winter Wonderland at Hyde Park with my sister and my cousin. I last went to Hyde Park in 2014 and I really enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to visiting again. I thought I'd share a few photos on here of my day.



The last time we visited we only had a couple of hours at Hyde Park so we decided to spend the whole day there this time. We also booked tickets to The Nutcracker on Ice, as I've always wanted to see The Nutcracker and I thought it would be nice to spend at least part of the day warm and inside! I was expecting it to be held in a basic tent, but it was surprisingly elaborate and beautiful. It was small but very comfortable. The show only lasted an hour so it was a rather condensed version, but it was still very festive and lovely.





After The Nutcracker we decided to wander around the market and visit the Ice Kingdom (which was my favourite part of Winter Wonderland last time). I didn't actually buy anything from the market except food because it is incredibly expensive, but I thoroughly enjoyed the Ice Kingdom. The sculptures were stunning, and the level of detail was incredibly impressive. I highly recommend visiting if you are nearby. The theme is arctic this year so it included ships, igloos, fires and polar bears.



It was such a lovely day. Christmas is my favourite time of the year and I think I need to make this an annual tradition. We visited during the week so it wasn't too busy, and the market had a wonderful atmosphere. I'm very much looking forward to celebrating Christmas now!

Have you visited any Christmas markets this year?

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Chatsworth House

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. It's incredibly dark and gloomy today (perfect film weather) and I think I'm going to spend half of my day cleaning and the other half drinking hot chocolate and watching films. I have been meaning to start posting more frequently on here, and I thought I would share some photos from my visit to Chatsworth House last Thursday.



Saturday, 27 August 2016

Nag Champa and Sleep Easy Candles by Luna's Locket

I've always loved candles. I love lighting a candle and curling up with a book and a mug of hot chocolate (especially in the darker months) and I can never resist buying them when I come across a scent that I like. As I mentioned on my last post, I attended the Fairy Festival last weekend, and I couldn't resist buying a couple of Luna's Locket candles to add to my collection.



It was wonderful to be able to see the candles in person as it is always somewhat difficult to figure out certain scents when looking at them online. I had to restrain myself a bit as I could have easily purchased enough candles to last me for the next few years. I found so many new scents that I loved (the autumn candles in particular were very tempting) but in the end I decided on the Nag Champa candle and the Sleep Easy therapy candle.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Labradorite Necklace by Sam Ryde

I hope you are all having a wonderful week. It has been very hot here and I'm very much looking forward to autumn. I apologise for my lack of activity on here recently; I've been rather busy but I'm hoping to get caught up on all of my draft blog posts soon.

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Fairy Festival in the New Forest. It was my first time attending (it's too far to go for the day from Nottingham so I stayed with family in Surrey and travelled by train) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was very lucky to attend as I was in Surrey anyway by coincidence. The weather was beautiful and the festival had a lovely atmosphere. The New Forest really is spectacular; I would love to spend a few days there exploring.

My favourite stall of the day was one shared by Luna's Locket and Sam Ryde. It was lovely to meet them and to see their jewellery and candles in person. It was somewhat difficult to control the urge to buy as many candles and necklaces as possible! In the end I purchased two candles from Luna's Locket (which I will review in a separate post) and a necklace from Sam Ryde. I chose a beautiful silver labradorite necklace.

I would also like to apologise for my obvious sunburn in the photo below. It was incredibly hot at the festival and I managed to burn both of my shoulders despite covering them up and wearing factor 50.



The necklace features a beautiful labradorite stone encased in a silver frame. Crescent moons adorn the bottom of the frame and the pendant hangs from a double hoop on a dark silver chain. I was also able to choose between a normal silver chain and a dark silver chain. I decided on the darker chain as I thought a regular silver chain would detract from the bright silver of the pendant. I think I made the right choice as the pendant really does stand out against the dark chain.

Labradorite is often used in healing, and is said to promote an awareness of psychic abilities. Furthermore, it is also used to ward against negativity and reduce stress. This is my first piece of labradorite jewellery and I adore it.

This really is a stunning necklace. It caught my attention immediately when I entered the tent, and I knew I couldn't possibly leave without it. The stone flashes from blue, to green and to purple, and contains a little hint of yellow in daylight. It's a mesmerising stone.

The necklace is incredibly well made. The silver is beautiful, and the detailing is just enough to complement the stone without detracting from its natural beauty. Likewise, the double hoop adds a subtle touch of elegance to the necklace. The stone has a very tiny scratch on the side, which oddly looks more apparent on photos than in person. This doesn't bother me as it is to be expected with crystal jewellery and I think it gives it a more natural appearance.

Overall, this is a truly stunning necklace and I'm incredibly glad that I was able to buy it. I think I would have regretted leaving it behind almost instantly if I had decided against it! It was a little expensive (which is to be expected with handmade jewellery) but it is worth it for the quality and the uniqueness of the jewellery. It's a necklace that I will treasure for years to come.

You can see all of the items that Sam Ryde has to offer on her website.

Disclosure: I bought this necklace myself.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

My The Crypt of Curiosities Collection

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. It has finally stopped raining here in Nottingham so I have been enjoying the sunshine. Hopefully the warm weather will last!

A few months ago I broached the idea of starting jewellery collection posts on Instagram. I thought it might be fun to start a collection post for each brand with product pictures, which I'll continue to update as I add to my collection. I thought that this would be a good way to see everything in one place rather than in several separate reviews (I will still continue to review individual pieces). I'm not going to include a review in these, I'm just going to keep it simple with a couple of photos of each piece and a brief description. I always enjoying seeing these kinds of posts so I hope you enjoy them too.

I thought I would start with The  Crypt of Curiosities, which is one of my favourite online shops. All of these products are available here (some of these may be out of stock).


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Windsor Castle

Last weekend was a rather busy one for me. It has been quite some time since I shared something other than a review, so I thought I'd share some photos with you all.

I spent all of last weekend in Surrey visiting family, and my sister and I decided to go on a little trip to Windsor Castle. I have visited Windsor Great Park previously (which is beautiful and I highly recommend visiting) but we had never been to the castle. I wanted to go because I wanted to see the Shakespeare exhibition, and my sister came along because she's very much a royalist and wanted to look around.


We managed to arrive just in time for the Changing of the Guard, which was very lucky as we didn't plan this before arriving. After watching this, we joined the longest queue in the world to buy tickets. I absolutely recommend buying tickets in advance. We queued for over an hour to get in (which wasn't too bad considering how long and disorganised the queue was). We paid £18.50 each for a student ticket, so it is expensive to visit.

The Queen was in residence, so the Royal Standard was flying over Windsor. It was really quite windy so we got a good view of the flag. After we bought our tickets we headed straight to St. George's Chapel, which was recommended in the information booklet. I was very excited about seeing the chapel, and I was not disappointed. Photography was sadly not allowed anywhere inside the castle or the chapel, which was frustrating. The chapel was stunningly beautiful and intricately designed. I highly recommend looking up some photographs of it on Google. It was probably my favourite part of Windsor. It felt very tranquil and solemn, which was to be expected. I'm not religious, but the atmosphere of churches and chapels. I was a little sad that I hadn't bought any change with me to light a candle (it was 30p to light a candle). It was also rather quiet compared to the rest of Windsor. Some of the tombs were incredibly simple and others were rather extravagant and impressive. Walking past the grave of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour felt a little surreal.

We then moved onto the castle itself. We saw Queen Mary's doll house on display, which was very impressive (and probably larger than my actual house!). The Shakespeare exhibition was next which was one of my favourite parts of the day. It focused a little too much on Elizabeth I for my taste (they scarcely mentioned James I which I found a little odd). They also had the First Folio on display, which was a highlight for me. I begged the steward to let me take a photograph, but she refused (and followed me around the room afterwards just in case). My sister managed to sneak a shot of it with her phone, which I'm grateful for even if it is blurry.


The actual castle itself was spectacular. The details were astounding; the ban on photography felt especially torturous because of this. I tried to sneak in a few shots, but I couldn't capture the magnitude and the splendour of the rooms.

Windsor Castle was definitely worth a visit, albeit an expensive one. I don't think it is somewhere I would revisit because of the cost, but I am glad to have visited once. I'm especially pleased that I managed to see the Shakespeare exhibition, but I do wish the library had been open to visitors.

I thought I'd end this post with a photo of Bree playing with my Aunt's dog in the garden. They adore each other, and it was just too cute not to share.


I hope you are all having a wonderful week. I'm hopefully going to post a few more reviews soon, depending on how busy I am with work (I'm going to be changing jobs in the next few weeks).

Have you visited anywhere interesting lately?

Sunday, 1 May 2016

Ophelia Wears Black by Segovia Amil

 I very rarely buy poetry collections by one writer. I usually prefer anthologies as it is more likely that I will discover something I enjoy, and I like introduced to the poetry of several different writers at once. However, I knew I needed to read Ophelia Wears Black by Segovia Amil as soon as I saw it.



What drew me towards Ophelia Wears Black? I think it was a combination of the Ophelia reference (Hamlet will always be one of my favourite plays and I have always been fascinated by Ophelia), and the cover. I adore the cover of this book. The white design against the black cover is incredibly striking. It does tend to get a little dusty though, as you can see by my pictures! 

Ophelia Wears Black is split into four sections, ‘The First Blush’, ‘On Solitude & Abandon’, ‘Burials’ and ‘Blood of the Seed’. The latter two sections are my favourite, but I enjoyed poems from all of the sections immensely. I think I preferred the latter half of the book as it delves a little more into the role of death within life and the profound beauty within death and darkness, whilst the first half features more ‘coming of age’ poems and focuses more on adolescence. My favourite poems in the collection are ‘Winteress,’ ‘With My Dead’ and ‘February’, as I feel that these poems speak to me personally the most. The book also offers an introduction to the poems, which is an insightful read on the background and inspiration behind these poems.

The poetry within explores several binary oppositions. Darkness is contrasted with light, heat with frost and detachment with immersion. Even the poetry itself is simultaneously simplistic and complex; it delves into themes of gravitas whilst remaining accessible and personable to the reader. There's something about this book that makes you feel like the only person in the world. However, despite exploring these themes of detachment, there is a surprising level of intimacy in this collection. I haven’t quite been feeling myself recently and I have found a great deal of comfort inside Ophelia Wears Black.

I cannot think of single thing that I do not like about this book. The poetry is sensational, dark and cathartic, and the photographs complement the poetry beautifully. They find the balance between mystery, intrigue and beauty without detracting from the poetry. The tone and style of the poetry is also continuous throughout. It's almost impossible to consider these poems as separate entities; they are brush strokes on a painting that sets the atmosphere and tone of this book. It is eloquent, elegant and remarkably heartfelt. You become seamlessly immersed in her world from the second you open the cover. I found myself completely absorbed from the second I turned the first page to the second I finished it. I always reach for this whenever I feel like I need some time alone with my thoughts. There’s something remarkably therapeutic about reading this. It reminds me that it is completely acceptable to make peace with my own inner darkness. It clarifies the nature of darkness itself, blurring the boundary between the joy of life and the inevitable pull towards death. It is dark but empowering. It's perfect to curl up with after a stressful day. I lose myself within its pages almost instantly. 

I adore this book. I think I will be reaching for this for many years to come. I do wish that it came in hardback, as I am almost certainly going to wear out this copy. I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes my favourite literary purchase of the year as it truly is a captivating read.

You can purchase Ophelia Wears Black for £16.53 from the Book Depository.

Have you read anything interesting lately?

Disclosure: I bought this book myself.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

A Space of My Own

Hi everyone! I hope you are all having a lovely week. I thought I'd post a quick little home post today. I recently posted about my new dressing table on Instagram, and a lot of you were interested in it, so I thought a post with links and information would be useful for some of you. I'll write a more in depth post at some point, but I thought a quick little post might be fun.

I recently redecorated my bedroom and this is the almost finished product. I still need to sort of my bookcases (I need to either stain them or paint them) and I need to sort out my carpet. I am in love with my new furniture though.




Dressing table: Dunelm
Cauldron candle: Luna's Locket
'Witch' teacup: Thirteen Curiosities 
Lipstick holder: eBay
Brush holder: Dunelm. I bought this in store and I can't seem to find it online!
Hat cross stitch: Coven of Stitches 

I'm really happy with it. I have always wanted a dressing table but I had to have a desk for my studies. This feels so much nicer! I love being able to sit down to do my make up (I sat on the floor previously so this is certainly an upgrade) and I think my bedroom is so much more appealing now.

I hope this helps some of you who were curious! I'll definitely write a full home post with some more detailed pictures. I also have a bedside table which matches the vanity. I'm so pleased with my furniture. The dressing table holds a surprising amount and feels sturdy. My room feels so much more elegant now. I love curling up in here when I arrive home from work.

I hope you are all having a lovely week. I'm going away for Easter on Friday, so I might be a little quiet online. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter if you celebrate!

Friday, 11 March 2016

February

It's finally March! I have always loved winter but I am ready for Spring. I'm looking forward to light evenings and sunshine.

I thought I would post a little update for February, albeit late. It has been quite some time since I posted a monthly update. January was rather uneventful but I have a few pictures to post for February.

Overall, February was slow but not too bad. January is my least favourite month so I'm always pleased when it is over. One of my favourite days in February was my visit to Newstead Abbey. We walked around the house but only spent a few minutes in the grounds because it was freezing! I would like to go back again in summer. I haven't shared many pictures because I've posted about Newstead Abbey twice now (here and here) and I didn't want to repeat too many pictures!


It was a lovely day. Newstead Abbey is one of my favourite places and I always enjoying visiting. I would like to go back and explore the gardens again.

Of course, most of my day trips were actually dog walks. I love walking Bree. She gives me a reason to get outside when I would rather be curled up in bed, and I like the exercise.

.

I'm also hoping to write more blog posts now March is here. I always feel a little more inspired when spring arrives. I did write a review of the Crimson Peak novelisation for Altvenger Magazine, which you can read here if you are interested!

I apologise for how sparse this update is. I'm hoping to have more review posted soon, and I might start writing some short reviews. I'm also hoping to organise more day trips once the weather picks up. I'm definitely excited for spring!

Did you do anything nice in February?

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