Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Let's Look Back at 2014 - Fictional Favourites

As the year quickly pulls to a close, most people like to look back and reflect on all the wonderful things they have done. But I've already done that, so now I've decided to look back on my favourite fictional things as inspired by Currys. Although I started writing book reviews on this ol' blog, it hasn't really touched the surface on how many books I read this year. As Goodreads allows you to set yourself a yearly target, I managed to reach mine - and surpass it - with flying colours. After looking back at my year in reading, I decided that my favourite book of 2014 is A Tale of the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.

A completely surreal story, following the life of Nao, or at least the life she writes about in her diary, which is found washed up hundreds of miles away by Ruth. At completely different stages of their lives - as one is a bullied and misunderstood girl in Japan, the other a woman struggling with writer's block on the other side of the Pacific - their stories weave together in such an unusual way. Ruth starts to struggle with the concept of time, as she has no idea how far apart each entry in Nao's diary are, and starts to pace herself with it. I felt the same as Ruth in this respect, as at first I just wanted to devour the entries, but realised I needed to savour them to understand how significant each development in Nao's character is to the novel. 

Although some of the science theory in this novel completely passed me by, I found it completely engaging and unlike anything I've read before. I would definitely recommend this, and in fact I've already loaned it out to a trusted friend. 

Honourable mentions
- The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness
- Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I have to admit, not all of my free time has been spent reading. Due to the wonder that is Netflix, I have spent many an hour flicking through the rows and rows of suggested viewing watching some top quality television. I really took it in my stride and went American Sitcom mad. First, The Office US (my second time round), then Don't Trust The B**** In Apartment 23, the hotly anticipated Orange is the New Black series followed by many, many others. I've got to say though, my standout TV show in 2014 has definitely been Arrested Development.

The series originally started in 2003, and had three successful seasons before it was sadly cancelled in 2006. Luckily for me, Netflix decided to revive the show and that's what brought it onto my radar. I'd never really been a huge fan of Jason Bateman before, but I really loved his portrayal of Michael Bluth, just a normal guy trying to keep the family business afloat whilst his father is in prison for some dodgy business malpractice. All of the characters are perfectly acted - I could not imagine anyone other than Will Arnett as part-time magician Gob Bluth - and the straining relationships between family members is hilarious to watch.

Honourable mentions
- Game of Thrones
- Damages (not from this year, but Glenn Close?!?!)
- Parks & Recreation

Did either of these tickle your fancy this year? What was your best read this year? Any TV shows I need in my life? 

Chelsea xo

*this post is my entry to the #CurrysFiresideFiction competition*

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Way to go, 2014!

On January 1st 2014, I posted this about what I was excited about for the year ahead. I thought it might be fun to have a look back and see if it all went to plan! 

Ah, the quest for silver hair... *sighs* As much as I love my new 'do, I miss it every day!
January - go back to uni, Joe's birthday, meet Leona
Well, I didn't meet Leona as the weather decided to go mental and destroyed the whole section of railway lines between us two! Which we were gutted about, of course, but natural disasters aside, I think January was an alright month for me. 

February - go and see my family, trip to London
I did both of these things! My surprise valentine's trip to London was to go see Foals perform - which was amazing! Seeing my family was also fantastic, and it looks like we'll be seeing them again in Feb 2015. Why must I live so far away?! 

March, April, May - uni deadlines, decide future
A year ago I was mulling over whether I would take my third and final year of uni. I think it's safe to assume you all know that I did go for it in the end. Sadly, there are still some areas of uni that could be vastly improved, but I'm hoping to make some sort of change with my role as student rep. We shall see. 

June, July, August - anniversary
I basically had no plans whatsoever for the summer, but wanted to do something nice for our anniversary in August. It's safe to say that we did, and I wore my super cute yellow dress. We also moved in July, so that was pretty awesome. 

September, October - festival, birthdays!
Well, what d'ya know, Dylan and I both had our birthdays, just like we planned! Dylan's was very Batman themed, including a Batman cake that I decorated all by myself - screw you, Asda! I had a really great birthday, we went to the BEST restaurant ever, and then a few days later I celebrated with my uni friends and fell asleep on my train home! Not my finest moment, sure, but fun all the same! 

November, December - Christmas
Apparently I had really high hopes for Christmas and had hoped to spend it with my family. Obviously, I'd clearly forgotten that I'm married to a chef and that he will basically never get any time off during the whole of December. Maybe next year if he can get a job in somewhere that closes on the big day!

That was fun! Maybe I should write another post like this for 2015 - would anyone be interested in that? What did you get up to in 2014?

Chelsea xo

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Me, Myself and I (and I)

My most heartfelt apologies to anyone who didn't expect to see four versions of my face in the feed, but I need your help. That's right, it's time to pick some new glasses! For some really bizarre reason, I haven't edited any of these images (except to put them into a collage, obviously) but blogger is making them look like I've blurred the life out of my face. I haven't, but yeah. 

Chelsea - Malcolm
Nancy - Betty
I'm kind of cheating a bit, as I already own the bottom two frames. The Nancy style is the beloved frame I won from a giveaway on Amy's blog earlier in the year. I absolutely love them, but sadly Dylan snapped the leg off and now I can't wear them. They're included in this line up as I'd like to know if you think I should re-order a pair! The other pre-owned style is Betty - my purple retro cat-eye style lenses. As much as I like these, they hurt behind my ear a little bit as I think my head has expanded since I got them. 

So really what I'm asking you, dear reader, is this - which style do I go for next? Do I re-order my broken Nancy or do I stick with Betty? Should I be the Chelsea wearing Chelsea or should I opt for a (not so) macho frame like Malcolm? I must point out that the Malcolm's are also tortoiseshell, which seems to be a firm favourite with me. Black glasses look way too harsh on me, and with this current hairstyle, I imagine would morph me back into an emo-tastic 2004 version of myself. 

What style should I go for? Who wins, you decide! 
(I really hope you said that last bit in your best Geordie accent!) 

Chelsea xo

Saturday, 13 December 2014

It's Christmastime, Feeling Greedy?

If you'd have asked me a month ago what The Greedy Book is, I would have definitely thought it was some sort of recipe book - maybe with pies and cakes being the main feature. As amazing as that would be (and perfect for a pie and cake fan like me) it's actually a brilliant website, designed to store up all those items you've found online and completely love.

Essentially, The Greedy Book is an online wishlist - but it has a really great twist. You can add comments to each item you include. So, on that lovely £140 coat from Seasalt (first spotted on Ruth's blog) my note is "see if it goes on sale first!" as I'd much rather have a few lovely things off of my list, rather than have Santa spend all my Christmas allowance on a coat! 

Another favourite feature, is that you can create as many 'books' as you wish. This is great, as it means I can create a greedy book for myself - which I can sneakily leave open on my browser, or send a link to anyone who asks me what I would like - and I can create one for Joe, Dylan or any other member of the family! This is superb for me, as often I see something online, usually in another blogger's wishlist, and I think "wow, Joe's sister would love that!" so I heart it on bloglovin', but then forget all about it. The Greedy Book means I can save every little link to it's own book, and that way I'll always know where it is. Even better, I can choose if the book is private or not, which means when I share my own gift book, Joe won't be able to see what ideas I have saved for him. Perfect! 

Overall, I think The Greedy Book is a really lovely idea. I'd first spotted it on Becky's blog, when she went to their launch party. The team behind TGB really seemed so nice, and had given such amazing attention to detail for the launch party - something that really comes across on their website as well.  You can follow them on twitter and facebook as well, and they're usually posting beautiful items that you'll most certainly be adding to your book. I'm definitely going to use The Greedy Book for all my gifting needs from now on! 

So what do you think? Have you ever heard of The Greedy Book?

Chelsea xo
*The Greedy Book is an excellent small business, but I haven't been paid to share it! I just really love it!*

Friday, 12 December 2014

Book Club #9 - The Rosie Effect

My last book review was of The Rosie Project which -spoiler alert- I really enjoyed. I was pretty excited to find out that a sequel was to be released, and made sure I got my hands on it as quickly as possible. Luckily for me, I got it for my birthday and I ended up reading it last month.

The Rosie Effect - Graeme Simsion. Also, hello new bedding!
Set almost a year after The Rosie Project, The Rosie Effect jumps straight in with Rosie and Don now happily married and living in New York. All is going well for the couple - as Don works as a professor at Columbia University, where Rosie is also studying for her MD qualification - until Rosie drops a bombshell. That's right, she's pregnant. 

If you read my review of The Rosie Project, you'll know that I really enjoyed reading the first book. The characters were endearing, funny and easy to like. Which is great news, but often means writing a sequel is a hard task for any author. Luckily, I whizzed through The Rosie Effect and didn't feel like it was lacking at all - that Graeme Simsion has done it again!  

Excuse the shoddy editing on this one. Despite being taken only moments after the first image, it was apparently taken at nighttime. *shakes fist at camera*
Those familiar with the characters will know all about Don's quirks. His overly-logical nature and social awkwardness haven't been dulled in this second book, and if anything, are really put to the test when he finds out he will become a father. The Baby Project commences almost immediately, and he manages to get himself into tricky situations that only Don could find.

I really enjoyed reading The Rosie Effect but the ending was probably my favourite bit. It wrapped up the whole story in the best possible way - full of Don's blundering ways and a ridiculous twist. If you've read The Rosie Project, I really recommend grabbing the sequel and soaking it up over the holidays.

Have you read The Rosie Effect? Did you think it lives up to The Rosie Project? 

Chelsea xo

Monday, 8 December 2014

Christmas Wishin'

The Miniaturist - Penguin jumper - dotty dressing gown
Christmas Eve candle - white Converse - house charm
With only a few weeks until Christmas, I felt like the time has come to post a wish list. As far as I'm aware, Joe hasn't started his Christmas shopping yet - which is bad news for me! It took me forever to create this wish list, as I'd already planned to buy myself some treats in the Boxing Day sales. However, I've been after a dressing gown for age and this Joules one is just lovely. It looks like it would be really soft and snuggly, and to be honest I don't own enough polka dots. Next on my list was the rather general 'books'. I've already been book shopping recently, and picked up four new books under the guise of some of them being on my uni reading list - well, one was, but it was the second in a trilogy, so I had to get the whole set! I'd love to own this beautiful edition of The Miniaturist, the cover would look fabulous on my bookshelf. 

Christmas isn't the same without a novelty jumper, and it seems like penguins are in vogue this year. I love the mint colour, as it makes a nice change from the usual reds and greens. This one is from New Look, but they have so many different designs, I'm sure you'll find one you love. Another Christmas essential is a festive Yankee Candle! This year, I'd love to receive Christmas Eve - maybe as our traditional early present? That way, I could open it on Christmas Eve and enjoy the scent on the intended day. 

Would you believe me if I said I'd never owned a pair of Converse trainers? It's true, I was always more of a Vans kind of girl. Anyhow, I really fancy a white pair, and love how these are completely white. I think Converse have had some sort of re-brand recently, and that's why they don't have the blue and red stripes along the bottom. I could be wrong on that, though. Last up on my list is this lovely little house charm from Pandora. I've wanted it since July, to celebrate us moving away from our awful last place. Of course, if Joe (or anyone else reading) would prefer to get me a different charm, I have a wish list as long as my arm on the pandora website haha! 

Do you like any of my picks? What have you asked for this Christmas? 

Chelsea xo

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Welcome to the family!

Yeah, so today we bought a hamster. Despite growing up with pets for my whole entire life, I've never actually owned a hamster before. We went to the pet store to book Monty in for a Senior dog check up and I usually try to drag Joe around the fluffy small pets when we visit, much to his dismay. For some reason, Joe fell in love with the hamsters and declared that we should adopt one. And so we have. He's named Émile, like Remy's fat rat brother in Ratatouille, because Ratatouille is great and stuff. 

We've had to leave him to settle in, as moving can be quite stressful for hamsters, but it's so funny to hear Joe cooing him from across the kitchen. Joe didn't grow up with pets, and considers Émile to be his first - as I got Monty before we moved in together. I can sense a growing friendship blossoming between them and now I'm definitely outnumbered by males in this house! 

In other news:
- I handed in one assignment on Monday, one more to go for this term! 
- Dylan has been given the role of Angel 6 in the nativity. It's better than first lobster, I guess... 
- I made an excellent treacle tart using this recipe. You've probably seen it on instagram
- I finished reading The Rosie Effect - hopefully I can get a review up after my deadline! 

What's new with you guys? Any fun hamster stories? 

Chelsea xo
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