Friday, 29 January 2016

24 (very random) thoughts on my 24th Birthday.

It's my birthday! Today I turn 24 and so I'm writing about 24 things I've learned in my 24 years, I know, what a new and exciting concept! I hope you enjoy anyway, I have a feeling this will lose all structure and be really quite rambly.

1: I've learned, and I'm still learning, that I can't plan my life as much as I want to. This time last year I was completely ready for my boyfriend to move into my flat with me after he finished uni. As it turned out we ended up moving together 200 miles across the country, and becoming so much stronger because of it.

2: If I looked back to my 16 year old self fresh from my first ever break up and completely insecure I don't think I could have believed then that i would ever feel completely comfortable in myself. I still don't, and who knows if I ever will, but I'm far more comfortable (and I might even say confident!) than I'd ever thought could be possible.

3: You're not automatically good with money when you start earning enough to keep yourself comfortably. I always swore I would save and never have credit cards etc etc. Sometimes though life happens and as mentioned above, I needed the help of a credit card when I was earning for 2 people and moving across the country. It doesn't make me a bad person.

4: Exercise just has to happen, it does, I never liked it but I'm glad I've started now while my joints are still reasonably good and I can do most of the exercises I set out to do.

5: The secret to sticking to a skincare routine and in particular ensuring I always remove my make up was buying expensive white sheets. Who knew?

6: You shouldn't feel guilty about changing jobs when it's not for you. Since moving in July I have had 2 jobs, the first one, although not a bad job, wasn't for me and I couldn't stick it out for more than the 4 months I was there. I didn't enjoy it, I almost didn't apply for my current job because I was so worried about how people would react to me "not giving it a chance."

7: I really need to apologise less. Someone once said to me "every time you apologise when it's not necessary you are saying sorry for existing."

8: Sometimes you just need to eat takeaway pizza, like when you're heading off on the 2 hour journey to see your boyfriend and your bonnet flies up and smashes your windscreen. You need to let the police take your car away, get breathalysed, get a lift home and cry into Dominos until your roommate brings you flowers.

9: Nobody likes you when you're 23 is not true. Blink 182 were wrong! I felt so valued professionally and personally this year, it was really amazing.

10: Cooking a healthy nutritious meal really isn't that hard and sneaking veg into a pasta sauce is probably the best way to trick yourself.

11: My mum had a 5 year old (me!) when she was 24, I don't know how the fuck she did it. That's when a child is like a real life person who can think and act for themselves. My mum was such a grown up to me then, how was she 24?

12: I really don't enjoy drinking. I used to, don't get me wrong, I've had my fair share of wild nights. However now I'm far happier without that feeling of no control and without the hangover the next day. Very rarely I will have a drink or 2 if I enjoy the taste of what I'm drinking but gone are the days of holding my nose to do shots or asking 'what will get me drunkest for the least amount of money??'.

13: Mental health is just as important as physical health. I'm a nurse, we have to call in sick if we have something potentially contagious so as not to pass it on to vulnerable patients. I've always been very vigilant about this and not felt guilty for sick time, but this year I had to take time off for my mental health. I completely beat myself up for it, but that shouldn't be how it is. The stigma of mental health, I hope, is slowly shifting but we're not there yet.

14: So called self care can be self destructive. We've all seen those cutesy tumblr posts encouraging you to have some chocolate and go to bed but sometimes what you need to do is shower (because you haven't in 4 days) or exercise (because you can't remember the last time you walked further than to the kitchen) and thats okay to say too.

15: Rimmel Kate Moss lipsticks are the best quality for the money they cost (that I've found anyway!).

16: People I saw being complete idiots (in the sense of behaving like shits and being suspended) at school are now getting married and having babies (on purpose!) and it's still the weirdest thing.

17: I've stopped caring whether things I like are cool or not and just started embracing the fact that I like them. I can listen to The Weeknd, Alanis Morisette, Kanye and Ray LaMontagne all in the same playlist and I'm so happy about it. I'm over apologising for my choices.

18: I have SO much to learn about the world around me. It started when I started looking into intersectional feminism and realising that I really haven't been inclusive in my views, but I'm learning. I'm learning why things I previously didn't see a problem with can be problematic or offensive to people. I'm so glad to still be learning and I am completely happy to have my views challenged and to be told why things need to be different. Ive researched as much as I can but sometimes it's good to know that there are people out there who will, even unwittingly, make me check myself too.

19: Being friends with the adults of your life is when you really start to feel grown up. When you can have conversations with your mum or grandparents and really feel on an equal level its great.

20: I have been more homesick than I ever have before in my year of being 23. I had moved out at 22 but only 16 miles from my Mum and even closer to my grandparents. Now, living across the country I have experienced that ache, and it does not get easier or lessen with age. You're never too old for homesickness.

21: I really really have to try not to sweat the small stuff, but the point is in the trying. The conscious effort to let the small stuff slide and look at the bigger picture is one I think is helping me grow as a person each day.

22: It's so worth getting the finance in order to have a car that I'm not worried is going to break down on every long journey made!

23: It really is better for me not to sleep in. I'm not used to having a job where the hours are pretty stable but at the moment thats how it is for me and having a regular wake up time has been amazing. I've even tried to stick to it within half an hour or so on a weekend and it makes me feel so much fresher than laying in bed until gone 11am. I know, younger me wouldn't have believed it.

24: I have to try and make 24 my best year yet, just in my appreciation of the year not because I expect big things to happen, I've learned not to expect things because life has other plans anyway! I want to learn, appreciate and love more than I did at 23 and probably less than I will at 25.

Thanks for reading my ramble if you made it all the way to the end. I hope the word vomit wasn't too dire!

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Let's Talk: Lipsticks. My 5 Favourites!

It's not often I get to wear lipstick, I mean, I can wear it to work but I never bother because even if I remembered to put it on in the morning it would never get reapplied during the day! Anyway, at the moment I'm in the middle of a week off from work and I am fully embracing wearing lipstick, along with embracing whole days where I don't wear make up because that is awesome too.
I decided to put together this blog post of my 5 favourite lipsticks. Because I'm lazy when it comes to reapplying I look for either unbelievably long lasting or lipsticks that fade well and evenly!

Here we go, are you ready for multiple pictures of my resting bitch face? In no particular order::

1:: Rimmel Kate Moss 05::
I love the Kate Moss lipsticks by Rimmel, for the cost of them I believe they're the best available. This is a sort of muted fuchsia colour which I believe (excuse my lack of knowledge!) has blue undertones. I never thought this sort of colour would suit me but its actually so easy to wear. It glides on beautifully and is completely opaque with just one layer. I wouldn't say this dries down to a matte but at some point as I'm wearing it it usually stops feeling like I'm wearing anything on my lips at all and yet it stays put for ages. When it does fade it fades really evenly and doesn't leave you with a 90s lipliner look.

2:: Mac Plumful - lustre:: 
Another easy wearing lipstick, this is a plum coloured lipstick but the sheerness of it means it's one that doesn't need a mirror to apply. Just sweep and go! This is my one and only Mac lipstick, I bought it when we went to London in October, I've got to say that Mac stores really intimidate me. I tried on maybe 4 or 5 while I was there but it took everything in my power to actually ask to do this. Does anyone else get like that in Mac shops? I don't know what my problem is! This one isn't so long lasting but because of how easy it is to reapply I don't mind so much.

3:: L'Oreal Color Riche - Julianne's Nude::
I promise these lipsticks all don't look completely the same in real life, at least that's what I tell myself when I pick out yet another in Boots when I went in for make up remover. This is probably the most subtle of my favourites, a light pink thats not so light it washes me out and so easy to wear on the lips. I must admit this took a back seat for a while because I forgot how nice it could look with basically any other make up look. This one is really moisturising, again this means it's not very long wearing but I don't tend to mind with the subtler colours because you can't tell so much that it's fading when you're lazy with reapplying.

4:: Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Hot Pepper::
 Yay! One that looks different! This is the only liquid lipstick I own now, I can find them quite difficult to apply which puts me off. This one for me is easier, it takes a few coats but it dries so quickly that I find this the easiest way to apply it. Considering this dries down to matte it's a really comfortable colour to wear and so long lasting that it definitely ticks my laziness box. I've been thinking of picking up a few more of the shades but for now this is such a perfect red for me I think I'll let my wallet rest for a while!

5:: Rimmel Kate Moss 107::
There's a reason there are 2 Kate Moss Rimmel lipsticks in these 5 favourites, I think I own 5 or 6 of the shades, and they're all fantastic. I don't think I need to give much introduction to this lipstick, every autumn it's seen on every blogger everywhere, and theres a good reason! It's such a perfect deep red colour with purple undertones, it lasts so well especially with a few coats applied and blotted in between. I get quite dry lips and it doesn't cling to the dry areas even though it dries quite matte.

Since lipsticks can look different on lips depending upon the colour of them and especially with me removing and applying 5 colours in a row I thought I'd do a swatch on my arm too to hopefully show the true colours. 
I hope you've enjoyed my first delve into a beauty post, beauty is a love of mine that I don't get to indulge as often just because I don't often do things that require dolling up! I wish I did more and I have been known to spend a long time applying a full face of make up just for a day off trip to Sainsbury's! Doesn't matter how the experiment goes if you use self checkout! Now I'm trying to justify taking all these lipsticks away with me tomorrow so I have every option needed. 

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Little Loves #3.

I've been a bit lax on the blogging front recently, I'm not sure why, last weekend I had a whole 2 days off while Sam was working 13 hour days and yet I couldn't just sit down and write something. I started a new job the first week of January so I suppose that's taking up a lot of my brain space! I'm enjoying the job so much, learning loads and being more independent in my work. I suppose that can be a first little love on this post but i'll get back into the things I'm sure people will enjoy reading about!

This view.

Last weekend I watched the snow fall, wondering if it would stick and then watching as it did, thankful for the fact I didn't have to go out driving in it! When I can step back and watch the snow without panicking about having to drive in it it can be something I really enjoy. I love those cliche things about how it blankets the world and makes everything look fresh and clean at least for a little while before it turns dirty and grim again! 

The online community and support. 
A few weeks ago The S*n posted an article online about the Junior Doctors leading the strike action smearing them for their 'lavish lifestyles' dubbing them Moet Medics. They had done some super top notch investigative journalism in the form of going on these doctors Facebook pages and saving their holiday pictures in order to decide for themselves what kind of lifestyles they lead. Any normal, good person of course knows this is ridiculous and I think The S*n forgot who they were dealing with when they decided to #smearthedocs. Very soon a couple of hashtags were born and the online Junior Doctor community hit back in the way intelligent, funny people do: by thoroughly taking the piss. I myself, along with my junior doctor boyfriend (pictured above) joined in with our picture, showing our weekly shop at Aldi, and before I knew what hit me, my tweet was somewhat viral (compared to most of my tweets!) ending up with over 60,000 views and enough likes and retweets that I had to turn my notifications off for a few days and a feature on Buzzfeed, BT and a few other online articles! I'm only including the figures here to show the comparative support. Out of all those views, all those retweets and the articles, I only had 3 negative tweets back about this picture. Everyone else was joining in with the campaign, being completely hilarious and satirical, just how we should be in the face of ridiculousness. I was so happy then, even as a nurse, to be part of that community. You can't bring people like that down, they work too hard and do too much to let idiots (it took 4 people to write the so-called article!) bring them down. Well done Junior Doctors, you're awesome. 

Book Exchange.
How great is it to receive a proper parcel in this time where even your bank statement doesn't drop onto your doormat anymore? Last week my friend Bekki and I decided to exchange some books we had both been loving, wonderful idea, you get a new book for the cost of postage! Bekki completely blew me away with this package she sent me, everything in it was so thoughtful, I can't wait to get started on the book and to do this again in the future! One of the reasons is so I get another go at my parcel! I was so excited I quickly rushed out before the post office closed to buy an envelope and post my book onto her that I didn't think to add extras in. 

Sex and the City. 
I was too young for this show the first time around but I got the box set for Christmas and I'm loving it so far! It is dated of course, I'm only on season 2 so I believe we're still stuck in the early 2000s but I'm still enjoying binging this while my boyfriend plays football manager on his computer in the other room. I swear we don't conform to gender norms as much as this in all aspects of our lives! One thing I can't help but draw parallels from is the fact that Carrie seems to write one column a week and live an amazing life in Manhattan, reminds me of what people these days seem to (incorrectly!) think of full time bloggers. Work one day a week, earn exponential amounts of money and always have time to drink with your friends. I wonder how this affected the people watching it the first time it aired in the 90s, but thats just me, mostly I try to zone out and enjoy the dirty jokes. 

I'm hoping to be back into my blogging groove after this, I have a week off at the moment for my birthday and we're going away for the night as my gift, can't wait! A seaside getaway is perfect at any time of the year as long as theres a fish and chip shop open! 

Sunday, 10 January 2016

My Illustrated 2016 Goals!

Yes, another post about goals in 2016, I'm sure you're completely fed up of them, these ones are different though (aha!) because the lovely Emily of Jammy and Jelly has done an amazing piece of art which portrays my goals!

Emily tweeted out asking people for their New Year's Resolutions to draw, something I believe she's done for a few years now.  I absolutely love this one that she drew of mine, and I'm so happy that she's said I can use it in this blog post. So, here are my resolutions:

1:: Exercise more! 
Completely cliche I am aware however i'd really come to enjoy exercise last year and I was probably doing a good cardio/weights workout 3 times a week with some yoga thrown in too! I can't believe it looking back because of back to back ankle injuries one in October and another in December just as I was almost back to normal set exercise completely on the back burner. This year I want to work towards that enjoyment and frequency of exercise again, once my ankle is up to it again of course.

2:: Read 30 books! 
If you read my last post about my 5 favourite books of 2015 then you'll know I set myself the challenge of reading 25 books in 2015 (surpassing it by reading 26 woo!). This year I want to go a bit further and do 30. I also want to keep the part of the resolution last year of reading more books by women and more non-fiction books, this year expanding it by reading more by WOC and from the LGBTQ+ community as well. 

3:: Learn to play the harmonica!
I know this seems like a bit of an odd one, Sam bought me a harmonica for Christmas because of a few comments I've made about always wanting to know how to play it, I blame being brought up on Alanis Morisette for this urge! I was so happy with the gift (even though Sam was totes nervous thinking I might think he was taking the piss) because I had only ever mentioned it offhand but it really has been something I've wanted to learn but never really had the drive to go and buy a harmonica in order to learn. He also got me a beginners guide so watch this space for harmonica solo youtube videos ;). 

I also have a few others of eating more green things/less pizza and making sure mental health is a priority this year but I'm sure they weren't quite as interesting to illustrate so they didn't get a look in for my list that I gave Emily!
Let me know what your resolutions have been if you keep them! I've seen a lot of stuff around the internet about not needing a New Year to make changes and that is completely true but hey, if the reason is there and it helps give some people a purpose behind their goals, who is it hurting? 

Sunday, 3 January 2016

My 5 Favourite Books of 2015.

New Year's Day 2015 found me downloading the Goodreads app and setting myself a reading challenge of 25 books through the year, I also wanted to read more books written by women and more non-fiction books. I managed 26 books in the year (although one was only 80 pages I still counted it) and I think I managed the other 2 as well.
Here are my 5 favourite books I read this year, not necessarily published this year and in no particular order. I noticed after I photographed them that I didn't actually include any non-fiction books that I read so I'll do a little mention of those at the end.

1:: Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel. 
I read this at the very beginning of the year so I'm searching my memory for the reasons I enjoyed this, I must start writing reviews on Goodreads instead of just rating! Station Eleven is set after a virus wipes out a lot of the world's population, it follows various survivors living their lives in what would have been the USA all of them connected by one actor who died the night the 'plague' broke out. It's a real page turner, jumping back and forth between the past and present constantly finding more and more links between the characters and showing that survival in this world isn't enough, living has to happen as well. I found it so interesting because of how this world works post apocalyptic event, something I've spent too much time thinking about! 

2:: The Hourglass Factor by Lucy Ribchester. 
Another one I read earlier on in the year, I picked this up purely because of the beautiful artwork on the cover, so glad I did! This book is set in the early 1900s surrounding the Suffragette movement and a girl trying to make her way in the newspaper industry. I found this book so wonderful to read because it is completely immersive, sometimes overly descriptive writing makes it hard for me to focus on the story (Hello George RR Martin!) but this book did that without me losing track of the story that was going on within the lovely descriptions. It feels well researched and although obviously some artistic licence has been used it's so interesting to read of an England in this time. 

3:: Extraordinary Means by Robyn Scheider. 
This is the second of Robyn's books that I've read and I find her writing so easy to read that I consumed this book within a day, something i haven't really done since I finished uni. It's about teenagers with life-limiting and potentially terminal illness living together in a modern version of the once common sanatoriums. Unlike some other books about sickly teenagers who speak like adults and are about as deep as the pacific ocean this feels believable, teenagers who sneak off to get drunk and try figure out how to have sexual encounters without setting off the health monitors that track every anomaly in their vital signs. I really loved this book, and yes, it did make me cry. 

4:: The Bees by Laline Paull. 
A surprising favourite for me, this was probably the strangest book I read this year. It's a book, as the title suggests, about bees! It seems to me (a Sociology A level student who peaked at a C) to be a narrative on society based around a beehive. It's so interesting to see how beehives work as it really seems to have been researched fully into the workings of honey bees with some added sentiency and emotion thrown in there. Another page turner for me, I became so involved in the main characters life that i couldn't wait to see what would happen to her as she challenges the norms of the beehive and faces some great enemies in the form of wasps and weather. I would really recommend this book however definitely go in there with an open mind, its a weird one! 

5:: I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson. 
If I had to pick I would probably say this was my favourite book of the year. This book hits all the spots for me: it's funny, sad at times, compelling and beautifully written. The structure of the book follows twins Noah and Jude however in different times in their lives, so at any given time you're only seeing one character through the others' eyes. So much has changed in the years between the 2 stories that it only makes it more necessary to just keep reading, just one more chapter before you sleep in order to find out how these changes came to be and whether any of the issues or conflict could ever be resolved. The imagery used in this book is so unique and every metaphor used seems just completely purposeful and perfect. Brilliant. 

Special mention non-fiction favourites of the year. 
Yes Please by Amy Poehler. 
Grace's Guide by Grace Helbig. 
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. 

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