Friday, 24 February 2017

The 30 Day Music Challenge

I love talking about music, and it's something I don't think I've shared enough on this ol' blog. When I saw that Jaki had posted a '30 Day Music Challenge' post on her blog, I just had to give it a go myself. I think it started life as something you'd share on social media, one of those sorts of challenges, but I think it works well as a blog post! 
I decided to make a little Spotify playlist with my song choices in them, and I've listed all the prompts below as well. Doing it this way sort of makes it difficult to talk about the songs, but ah well! 

Day 1: A song you like with a colour in the title 
Make Them Gold - I sort of struggled picking this one, as my mind went completely blank. Chvrches to the rescue! 
Day 2: A song you like with a number in the title
Fortune 500 - I could have picked pretty much every song off this album to put into my list, but I thought this was a great one to show off EE in one of my personally favourite songs. 
Day 3: A song that reminds you of summertime 
Beat Again - and yes, I obviously do the 'beat again' heart dance move. 
Day 4: A song that reminds you of someone you'd rather forget about 
Don't Bother - I can't tell you how many times teenage Chelsea cried and sang along to this song. 
Day 5: A song that needs to be played loud
Famous Last Words - if you were lucky enough to have me on Snapchat when I first downloaded it, you'll know I love lip syncing along to this at full volume. 
Day 6: A song that makes you want to dance 
We Have Love - I LOVE HOT CHIP. 
Day 7: A song to drive to
Sex, Power, Love and Money - although to be fair, you could pick any Manics song to drive along to. 
Day 8: A song about drugs or alcohol
Beetlebum - easily Blur's best song. No doubt, no doubt, no doubt. 
Day 9: A song that makes you happy
Born To Make You Happy - this just reminds me of practising dance moves with my cousins when I was 8 or whatever. 
Day 10: A song that makes you sad
Bear - The Antler's first album is just an amazing masterpiece, engineered to make you feel sad. 
Day 11: A song that you never get tired of
Apologize - it's too laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaate
Day 12: A song from your preteen years
Caught In The Middle - I feel sorry for all these youngsters who don't know A1.
Day 13: One of your favourite 70s songs
One Way Or Another - we have this Blondie song on vinyl twice, so I thought it was only fair. 
Day 14: A song that you would love played at your wedding
Lovesong - this is really cliche, but I don't care. 
Day 15: A song that is a cover by another artist
Not In Love - a cover of some Canadian 80s pop hit, brought to the 21st century and turned into a banger. 
Day 16: One of your favourite classical songs
Nightbook - apparently a favourite of whoever picks BBC advert music. 
Day 17: A song that you would sing as a duet on karaoke
Too Lost In You - it's not really a duet, but I'd sing this with my bae Anth. 
Day 18: A song from the year you were born
Tainted Love - a grand song, if you completely erase the Pussycat Dolls cover from your mind completely.
Day 19: A song that makes you think about life
Stop Me... - this could have been any Smiths song, tbh. 
Day 20: A song that has many meanings to you
Always On My Mind - 🖤
Day 21: A favourite song with a person's name in the title
Sandy - could it be any other song? I think not. 
Day 22: A song that moves you forward
Fergalicious - I didn't understand the question. 
Day 23: A song that you think everybody should listen to
RUN - if you only listen to one song on this playlist, make it this one. 
Day 24: A song that you wish were still together
The Call - I think they might still be together, but aye. Tune, and that. 
Day 25: A song by an artist no longer living
Modern Love - a grand song from Bowie's weird 'car salesman' look. 
Day 26: A song that makes you want to fall in love
Dark and Stormy - I don't really want to fall in love again, but I love this song so... 
Day 27: A song that breaks your heart
Your Type - oh Carly Rae, it breaks my heart that this album didn't get you the recognition you deserve. 
Day 28: A song by an artist with a voice that you love
Reach A Bit Further - could have been any Wild Beasts song, really. 
Day 29: A song that you remember from your childhood
To The Moon And Back - I ruddy loved Savage Garden when I was a nipper. This song IS my childhood, and I did a dance to this song during my 11th birthday party. That should give you an idea of how cool I was. 
Day 30: A song that reminds you of yourself
Porcelain Heart - this song would remind me of myself if I had any singing abilities... 
Congratulations if you made it to the end! Let me know if you decide to carry out the challenge, or if you like any of my picks! 

Monday, 20 February 2017

Things I Have Been Doing Instead Of Practicing My Theory Test

So, I have my theory test coming up in the not too distant future and when I booked it, I felt like I had buckets of time to get some practice tests in. I felt inspired - I actually paid £2.99 for an official driving theory test app thing. Of course, my inspiration has waned since booking and now with the test around the corner, I've realised that I've spent most of my free time not practising. I'm a gal that loves a list, so let's see what's been taking up my time instead. 
  • Watching Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life. Luckily this has ended now, so I have a few more hours free...
  • Heading off to London for the day with the boys, and doing fun stuff with Becky
  • Writing this blog post *waves*
  • Going to a friends house for dinner one evening (who is actually also my driving instructor so if I fail I'm blaming that) 
  • Deciding (and then researching on Pinterest) that I need a capsule wardrobe
  • Meeting MPs as part of my role as a Women's Officer in my local political youth party. Check me out!
  • Trying to keep Dylan occupied during half term, usually with expensive lego bribes
  • Trying to tidy away all the mountains of lego even though it's half term and Dylan will just get it all out again
  • Looking at houses I want to buy with my nonexistent deposit and ready-to-go mortgage
  • Squidging Robin's cheeks and cuddling with him 
So, not a huge list, but all things that could probably wait - I'm sure you'll agree! Now I better head off and get some practice in before I wave my test fee money down the drain completely. If anyone has any tips for the clicky screen bit, let me know!

Update: you might be glad to know that I actually passed! Woo me! Clearly leaving your revision to the last minute is the way to go, ha!

Sunday, 5 February 2017

I Started a Bullet Journal!

Like many bloggers, I love being organised. Or at least, I love to think I'm being organised. Sure, it doesn't always go to plan but I feel good knowing the intention is there. Anyhoo - the latest organisational thing on the block is bullet journalling. It's not actually that new either, but a few months ago I decided to jump on the bandwagon. For those not in the know, a bullet journal is a diary, notebook and journal all in one. It uses spreads and collections to create the perfect journal for you - it's completely adaptable.  
I love being able to create my own lists of things I want to track or keep a record of - and you could track pretty much everything from how many episodes of Gilmore Girls you've watched to how close you are to your saving goals. My favourite lists, or collections as they're known, include keeping a log of the books I have read and tracking deliveries, which was really helpful on the run up to Christmas. 

You don't really need any particular items to start a bullet journal, just a notebook and a pen would do but I decided to buy a fancy yellow Leuchtturm notebook, which is the typical notebook of choice for bullet journal aficionados. I haven't bought a specific pen for my journalling, but I did buy some amazing highlighters for doing headers and decoration - the grey is my favourite!  

I've got to be honest and say that I don't actually use my bullet journal every day - which to some would be a bit pointless - but I'm not currently at a stage where I need to be. I'm hoping to have a more 'full' week soon by starting some baby classes with Robin, and I think that will mean I use my bullet journal more often on a daily basis. Even though this is the case, I've been able to create more unstructured collections - such as what I've read recently and tracking my 30 Before 30 goals - which don't really need to be within a daily, weekly or monthly timeline.

I'd really recommend bullet journalling to anyone who loves to be organised, or even if you're just a big stationery fan. Although I'm not really creative, I feel like it's let me access a creative side by being able to create my own layouts as such - so don't feel like you need an Art degree to give it a go!

My Petit Canard



Thursday, 2 February 2017

A Kitchen Wishlist*

Despite mentioning on a semi-regular basis that I'm married to a chef, I don't think I've ever featured a kitchen-based wish list on my blog. I guess it's because I usually see the kitchen as solely Joe's domain, but I'm a pretty nifty baker so I spend my fair share of time in there too! I asked Joe what would be the top of his kitchen wish list and he practically gave me a list longer than my arm - so I won't bore you to tears with the entire list, just my top five! 

Joe is an excellent bread maker, and whenever he is off work, he'll make a fancy loaf or two. I, on the other hand, am a pathetic bread maker and pretty much had a breakdown when I attempted to make cinnamon buns recently. I would love this Bread Maker from Panasonic, as it just looks so sleek and easy to use! Perfect for a beginner like me! 

Next up on my list, we've been dreaming of warmer weather and therefore an ice cream maker seems ideal. If money were no object I'd love this Sage by Heston Blumenthal one, but I'd settle for any old thing if it could make me a delicious mint chocolate ice cream! Another somewhat essential for the kitchen is this cute little kitchen shelves. We have limited space in our kitchen and I'd love to be able to display all of our recipe books on these shelves. I've also got a gorgeous glass teapot which would look lovely on show instead of stuffed at the back of a cupboard. 

Speaking of recipe books, another essential for us would be Marcus Wareing's newest cook book, Marcus at Home. Joe and I love watching the professional version of Masterchef, and I've made it no secret that I think Marcus is a bit of a silver fox, so I'd gladly add this to our collection. 

Of course, the ultimate item in any kitchen wish list is going to be a KitchenAid food processor. We have a really good mixer at the moment, but a KitchenAid would make me feel like a proper grown up, if that makes sense? The red one would be perfect in our current kitchen as we have red 'accents' but I'd love a pastel shade, maybe the lemon or pistachio colour? Ah, a girl can dream! 

*Disclaimer: This post was a collaboration with Panasonic. Content written by myself.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Taking Time, Taking Stock

So I accidentally ended up taking some sort of break from blogging, which was totally unintentional. I wish I could say I took time away and achieved many great things, but in reality I've watched lots of Gilmore Girls, (unsuccessfully) pestered Joe to make pie and that's about it. Instead of wallowing in that, I thought I'd go down a tried and tested route and show my time away from the blog through the medium of verbs. 

Making: a mess, everywhere I go, much to Joe's delight.
Cooking: my midweek favourite, enchiladas!
Drinking: copious amounts of tea. Or at least half-cups, as keeping Robin occupied often means my tea ends up cold.
Reading: I just finished reading Cherry by Lindsey Rosin, a really fun YA mostly about friendship, but also about sex. It's pretty much a teenage girl version of American Pie. 

Wanting: some new clothes! I feel a bit like I wear the same 3 BF-friendly tops and all my jeans make me look frumpy. 
Looking: like a gothy bruise after accidentally dyeing my hair black and blue.
Playing: The Simpsons bloody tapped out, thanks to one of my friends casually mentioning it. I get weirdly obsessed with games like this. 
Wasting: time playing that silly game. I don't even watch The Simpsons anymore!

Fixing: up our windows, as it has been getting a bit wild with condensation recently. Adult life, ey?
Deciding: - or at least trying to decide - on what to do with my life after my maternity leave ends.
Wishing: I had a plan for what to do after my maternity leave ends!
Enjoying: the tiny amount of time Joe and I get together.

Waiting: for Dylan to go to bed so I can watch more Gilmore Girls, ha!
Liking: that tulips are back in season.
Wondering: if I'll manage to make a birthday cake for Joe's birthday tomorrow! eep!
Loving: the ten minutes of peace I get when Robin first goes into his bouncer - he quickly loses interest though!
Pondering: what photo I can use for my candidate photo, no pressure or anything. 
Considering: what I should have for tea - we have some pulled pork left but I should really eat something boring and healthy.
Watching: nothing currently, but Joe and I have finally started watching Fargo as we missed it when it was on TV and I'm loving it! 
Hoping: we can watch more Fargo tonight!
Marvelling: at how well Robin is doing - I can't believe I have a five month old baby!
Needing: a bath, I've got a pain in my back that only a relaxing bath can solve.
Smelling: like I need a bath, ha! 
Wearing: a stripy jumper and some tartan pyjama bottoms, going for comfort rather than style, clearly
Noticing: our fridge noticeboard needs updating. 
Knowing: that I should probably be really busy tomorrow but I'm not sure I'll be able to with no one to assist with the boys.
Thinking: about how I need to sort out the passport applications for the boys! Only nine weeks until we go on holiday, so it needs doing sooner rather than later!
Feeling: like I should be doing something important, but not sure what that is exactly at 7:54pm on a Friday... 
Admiring: a picture Joe sent me of the work he did yesterday - he helped his head chef at a fancy event and a local photographer got a really nice shot of them all. 
Buying: some of those no-nails picture hooks because I'm bloody sick of living in a house with no personality to it. 
Getting: an earful from Robin because I've dared to sit down with a cup of tea for five minutes. 
Bookmarking: various cake recipes to try out for Joe's birthday. Going to attempt Gem's individual cakes for the big day, and then Cathryn's Double Chocolate birthday loaf for the meal we're having on Sunday with the extended family. That Joe's a lucky chap. 
Opening: books and then remembering that I have no time to read books! I should be baking/feeding the kids/washing up etc etc etc until the end of time. 
Giggling: (and then denying that I'm giggling) at Dylan telling Robin the story of Jack and the Beanstalk. He keeps bellowing like Brian Blessed, hilarious! 
So there we have it, a few verbs to explain the goings-on around here. Kudos to you if you even managed to read this far! Maybe pick few and let me know how your week is going? 

My Petit Canard

Monday, 9 January 2017

2017 - Let's Do This

Like everyone in the entire world, I love wiping the slate clean on January 1st. Now, I'm definitely one of those 'make a load of resolutions, never follow through on them' kind of person. Even when given 1001 days to complete some goals, I still pretty much failed miserably. I'm a learner though, so I've come to realise that maybe I was giving myself some unrealistic things to achieve. One thing I thought would be easy to achieve - building a snowman with Dylan - was thwarted by global warming as it didn't snow the entire 1001 days of my quest. This time around, I'm going simple with my goals for 2017. 
Work Out What I Want To Do 
Okay, so this sounds like a big hitter but hear me out. I'm still on my maternity leave, and theoretically, I could stay off until August. My work contract actually ended when I left to have Robin, so I'm technically jobless. Since leaving university, I have always strived to be in work, and sometimes this resulted in jobs I didn't really have any passion for. I'd like to take the time off that I have to either find out which career I could have to use my skills or go back to university and start my Masters. 
Work Out Who I Want To Be
Sort of related to the above, I feel like I've sort of lost my personality a bit. Since becoming Dylan's mama at 19, and then Joe's wife at 21, I worry I've become two-dimensional. Although I loved university and made some great friends, I wasn't able to join in with freshers or things like that. Now that I'm sort of floating about in life, I'd like to work more on myself. I've already started this a little bit in 2016, but I'd like to really go with it this year. 
Sort Our Finances
Despite loading myself with thousands of university debt, I've not been able to get a decently paid job. When I finally Work Out What I Want To Do, I hope that it would be in something that pays more than the minimum. I'd like to *finally* clear myself of my overdraft, and start to create a little savings pot for us. I like to think that this would be achievable, but I guess it relies on Goal 1 working out okay. 
Blog More! 
I love blogging, and I was convinced that I'd have heaps of time for blogging with a newborn baby around(!) but clearly that wasn't the case - I actually ended up posting around half the amount I did in 2015. I'm going to start typing out blog post ideas on my phone, taking photos in bulk and perhaps relaunching the ol' youtube again. 
So, four kind-of ambiguous goals that I'd like to achieve in 2017. Totally doable, amiright? 
My Petit Canard

Saturday, 7 January 2017

The 2017 Goodreads Challenge

Back in the day, I would set a reading challenge and happily surpass my goal. In 2014, I pledged to read 20 books, and I read 22. In 2015, I set a goal for 25 books and ended up reading 31 books. So, riding on a high - I thought I'd easily read 30 books. I ended up reading 20 books. A paltry 67% of my goal. This year, I have decided to lower my reading expectations - being on maternity leave doesn't mean I have endless hours of reading to do, but endless hours of entertaining a baby, keeping him fed and looking after his older brother too. As much of a joy this is, it really scuppers my reading time. 
I've decided that this year I will aim to read 12 books. That's a book a month and should hopefully be pretty doable. I've got a few books on my kindle that I've been meaning to read, but I haven't been picking it up since I stopped commuting to work. Ideally, I'd read six books from there and six physical books from my TBR shelf. As part of my 30 before 30 list, I'd like to read 10 books from 1991 so I'm hoping to actually find a book from 1991 that I want to read. It's a bit of a struggle so far. Any suggestions there would be greatly appreciated! If you've struggled with a reading goal, or just want to read a bit more, I've listed some of my top tips below! 

  • Always have a book with you! It might sound obvious, but if I had a small paperback or my kindle on me, I was more likely to read on the go. You could even download apps for this if you don't have a kindle device!
  • Carve time out of your schedule. If you think you're too busy to read, put a note in your diary that at 8pm, or perhaps during your lunch break, you have a meeting with your book. That way, you're more likely to actually read it, and won't be tempted to make another meeting.
  • Read when you go to bed - a classic, but it works! Pop a book on your bedside table, and even if you just read one chapter a night, it's better than nothing!
  • Get a library card. Some people don't want to spend upwards of £10 on a book if they don't think they'll read them or even like them. Visiting your local library is free, and they often stock new books as well as the old favourites. Most libraries are part of a county group too, so if there's a book you want but they don't have it, they can usually get it sent in for you.
  • Read what you want - it can sometimes feel overwhelming to read the latest book with the biggest buzz around it, but I've often found that this is disappointing for me. If you know you love SciFi, reading the latest romance novel won't float your boat! 
If you're on goodreads, let's be friends and we can help each other along! 
© Love in Modern Life. Design by Fearne.