Monday, 30 March 2015

Book Club #13 - The Room by Jonas Karlsson

Despite still not fully believe that I'm a book blogger, I cheekily signed up to the Blogging for Books scheme. Which is essentially free books in exchange for a review. I also decided that this helps with my book buying ban, as technically I'm not buying the books. OH YEAH. Win, win baby! Anyhoo, my first book ended up being The Room by Jonas Karlsson. Originally written by a Swedish actor-turned-writer, I was completely unsure as to what it would be like. Are Swedish actors good writers? Or is he a writer because he was a rubbish actor? I've no idea! What I did know, is that I quite like the style of Swedish writers (if there is a style?) so I gave The Room a chance. 



The Room is narrated by Bjorn. He's just started a new job, and he's already aiming for the top. From sussing out the hierarchy of the office, to working out where everything is so he doesn't have to ask anyone, Bjorn is a man with a plan. This all changes, of course, when he notices the room. I won't go into too much detail about it, but I found it a really interesting focus of the story. I'm pretty sure The Room is a satirical novel, somewhat reminiscent of an Orwell novel - Bjorn works for the Authority, which reminded me of Big Brother a little bit - and as Bjorn is an unreliable narrator, you never really know what's actually happening. He disregards his colleagues for really basic reasons - such as not liking someone's jacket - and to him, it's completely rational. At one point, a staff member ignores him, but instead of feeling snubbed, he reckons that they're just trying to prove their worth in the office, which he finds commendable. I did really like this, though. I often find that some of the best characters are the ones you don't really like, but make you think about things, and Bjorn is definitely like that. 

It's a short story, being less than 200 pages, so I managed to complete it within a day. Despite this, I really enjoyed what I read, and I would be interested to see if Jonas Karlsson has anything else translated into English. 

Have you heard of this before? Do you like translated novels? 

Chelsea xo
*I received this book in return for a review, but all words are completely my own!*

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Hooray, it's Picture Book Day


It's National Picture Book Day, apparently. I'm not entirely sure if that's a real thing or not but it seems like a good time to celebrate some of Dylan's favourite picture books. First off, we have Zog. Dylan loves Zog, and he's our number one bedtime reading material - I can definitely recite it word for word. It's by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffer, and pretty much everyone knows they're the children's book dream team. The Dinosaur That Pooped A Planet! was thought up by another dream team - Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter from McFly. I have to admit that I kind of bought this more for myself than for Dylan, but he really loves it. It also came with a dinosaur plush, but luckily for me it doesn't poop! 

Two new ones for our collection are Bing - Paint Day by Ted Dewan and Mog and Bunny by Judith Kerr. Dylan is growing out of cbeebies a little bit due to his love of superheroes, but he's always really excited when Bing comes on. When I spotted this book, I knew he'd be really delighted with it. It's a very simple story, but I think it'll be perfect to practise Dylan's reading skills! I used to love Mog when I were a nipper, but I couldn't remember ever reading Mog and Bunny. I think I must have had a whole selection of Judith Kerr books, so I was more than happy to add this one to our collection. The illustrations are as delightful as I remembered, and I think Dylan finds them quite soothing for an after-bathtime read.

    
Whoops! by Suzi Moore is actually a newly released book. We've had the pleasure of meeting Suzi, so Dylan has a nice signed copy! I think the artwork for this is really special, and looks a bit grungier than other children's books. Oliver Jeffers is one of my favourite illustrators, and I love how this book is 'narrated' by the crayons. It's a really genius idea! 

We've had A Bit Lost the longest in this selection, I think we bought it when Dylan was just a wee babe. I believe Joe picked it out in Edinburgh, so it's quite special to me. Dylan likes to point out all the animals and make the appropriate noises for them. Another good animal noise-inducing book is Sarah & Duck meet the Penguins. This is another cbeebies show that Dylan loves, so when I saw this book in Cardiff I just had to buy it. Quack. 


I couldn't leave out two of my own favourite picture books. I guess they're not quite picture books, but they do have some illustrations, so I'm totally putting these out there. The Tale of Peter Rabbit was probably the first book I ever loved. This one is taken from a little boxset I have, which sadly young Chelsea did not take very good care of. I'm sure I'll share this with Dylan at some point, but I'm not ready yet! Winnie-The-Pooh is another first love for me. I know these are both cliche selections, but they both gave me so much stability and friendship as a child. Such woe, ey? 

So that's our top picture book round up! What are your favourites? 


Chelsea xo

Thursday, 26 March 2015

The Week That Was #12

I'm pretty glad to report that this week hasn't been as hectic as the last. I tried my hardest to just sleep throughout Friday and catch up with all those hours I'd missed out on. Instead, I managed to finish Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and I'm reeeeeally hoping it comes back for a second series. On Saturday, I managed to secure a babysitter and actually went to a birthday party for Joe's aunty. Sadly, Joe had to work, but he popped in after work which was nice. 

Since Monday, I've had a bit of a weird week though. I've been a bit out of sorts, but hosting my first ever twitter chat for #lbloggers on Wednesday really put a smile back on my face. I had a good ol' think for some interesting questions, and I think they went down pretty well! I'm still going through all the links I was sent, so that seems like a good sign. 



Other cool stuff I've been up to - 
- I started reading Station Eleven, after hearing so many good things about it
- got back into the gym habit, although I'm still pretty sure I have no idea how to squat
- I out-chavved Becky in a whatsapp chat, proof that my northernness knows no bounds!
- attempted to create a study schedule for the easter break. How does it start tomorrow?!
- I reminisced about having fun hair, which you can see here and here


What have you been up to this week?

Chelsea xo

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

101 in 1001 Days #8

Time for another update for my 101 in 1001 days list. It's been a couple of months since my last up date, and I've managed to make some progress. In some weird twist of fate, I feel like this update has a real 'spring cleaning' vibe to it, with pretty much every area of my life getting an overhaul. Some things are fully crossed off, and others are definitely a work in progress, so let's have a good ol' look.

Make an in-goings/out-goings list and use it
I've created the spreadsheet, as you may have saw on instagram, but I've marked it as 'in progress' as I haven't been using it for a full month yet, and therefore it doesn't qualify for a full ticking off. As I'm hardly months away from leaving uni, I thought now would be a really good time to assess my spending, so I can have a good look at what I need to cut back on. Joe reckons I'm an impulse buyer, so I guess the spreadsheet will reveal all!


Renew my passport!
Possibly the most exciting thing on the list, but Joe and I finally renewed our passports. We actually did this in January, with hopes of travelling to Italy in April, but those plans have been put on hold for now. Which is annoying. I'm hoping that Joe will agree to us having a short holiday somewhere once I finish uni/start real life. Fingers crossed my constant "ooh we can go [here] for only [somuchmoney]!" will work on him soon.

Join the gym/gym class
Well, I have successfully joined the gym, AND attended gym classes. I know, right? I'm pretty freakin' amazing. Actually, not amazing at all, as I've gotten fatter since joining. My gym buddy keeps reminding me that muscle weighs more than fat, but yeah, let's not kid ourselves here. My next step is sorting out my eating habits, but sadly I didn't put that on the list.

Spend the day with my nana
This actually happened a few months ago when I went up north to see the fam, as my nana lives up north with the fam. We went out for lunch, and had a jolly good time. Even jollier as my nana didn't have to cook - which is something I wouldn't wish on an enemy, sorry nana!

Declutter
A work in progress, but it's something that needs constant reviewing if we intend on moving to Bristol in a few months. I decided to make a dent in my ever-growing make-up stash, and invited Joe's little sister round to delve in. It's pretty ridiculous how much unopened make-up I actually had, considering I never wear the stuff! I even started getting rid of clothes I haven't worn in ages, but I definitely need to do this again.

Start a perfume collection
A new addiction to the collection - Beyonce's Midnight Heat. I know a lot of people stick their noses up at celeb fragrances, but I think it makes a really nice 'every day' kind of scent, although I'm sure with midnight in the name, it's intended for some sort of late night rendezvous. At £10 for 100ml, I couldn't say no to this. The joys of staff discount, ey?

Do a 'Photo An Hour' post, properly
I managed to do February's post, all thanks to setting hourly alarms on my phone. You can see the post here, if you'd like to relive my life. I'm hoping to do the one for this month as well, as I'll hopefully be having a fun day. 


Do you have a bucket list? 

Chelsea xo

Monday, 23 March 2015

Time for a shake up!

So I might have mentioned that I'm intending to improve myself. I guess it came around with my resolutions for the new year, but I wanted this year to be different. No more forgetting all about them by February, and crying into my pizza by March - no siree! 2015 would be the year I get my act together, and be happy with who I am. 

This meant joining the gym. Now, I'll be honest with you - there is nothing more motivating than knowing you paid £38 for a month. If I don't go in that month, I've just thrown away nearly £40. If I go once, it's cost me £38 instead of the pay-as-you-go rate of £4 (or whatever it is, I don't dare check). So I've been aiming to get to the gym three times a week. I know that I can't always do this - what with childcare issues, and schedule classes - but I aim to be as close to three times as possible. 

By the start of March, I noticed little changes. Running up the stairs at work didn't take it completely out of me. And that was really it. When I weighed myself, I'd put on weight. I'm not ashamed to say that this made me feel pretty shit. I know I'm worth more than the number on the scales, but I'd been hitting the gym, I'd bought some protein shakes, and still nothing. When Exante got in touch about their meal replacement range, I was about ready to try anything. 


Selection of Exante Diet Deliciously Different goodies
A pretty good selection, if you ask me!
A package arrived a few days later and had a decent range of items in there. Some shakes, some exotic looking main meals and some desserts - which were definitely the most appealing to me. I know for a lot of people replacement meals aren't ideal, but they're all pretty straight forward to 'cook'  and I think most products would be fine for those on the go. 

I first tried the chocolate shake. As I mentioned before, I had previously bought my own protein shake, so I was interested to see how they compared. I used my blender bottle to shake them up, as I find that makes them really thick and more like a milky milkshake, rather than made with water. Both shakes have a sort of textured feeling to them, but I'm guessing that's the protein in them, so I wasn't too fussed about that. It might be weird to discover than I'm not actually a huge fan of chocolate milkshake or ice-cream, but I did enjoy the chocolate shake. I know a lot of 'diet' chocolate things use super dark, super bitter chocolate, but this tasted pretty normal to me. Overall, a good start. 

Blender Bottle with Exante Deliciously Different Shake


For lunch on a gym day, I decided to have the Deliciously Different Beef and Black Bean Pot meal - which is as simple to make as pot noodle. You just add 180ml of boiling water, stir and let it cool down a little. Again, this is super easy to make, and I'm sure would be fine to pop into your bag and have whenever you get close enough to a working kettle. I found the texture to be a little strange to begin with, but after a few spoonfuls I was happily munching away. The flavour was nice so I would definitely have it again. The best thing about this meal though, is that even after a hardcore cardio and spinning session, I still felt quite alright, and like my muscles weren't going to drop off. The added protein and nutrients seemed to working really quickly, and I almost didn't want to get off my bike!

The Exante website is really simple to use, and they've even got a voucher page, which is pretty nifty. I'll definitely be checking it out once my little stash of goodies runs out!


Chelsea xo
*I was offered the chance to try some Exante products for free, but all thoughts are my own.*

Saturday, 21 March 2015

TBR Jar

You may remember that I recently told y'all about my happiness jar. To cut a long story short, I filled a jar with happy moments in my little woeful life. Now, as much as I wanted to continue with the happiness, I am a Morrissey fan, and this means I've learnt to accept a life of misery. I jest, of course, but I felt the jar needed a new purpose. 



I'd seen the TBR Jar (or To Be Read Jar, if you didn't know) on plenty of blogs before, so I basically stole that idea. I'm absolutely terrible at wandering into a bookshop and buying new books when we literally have no more room for them. Our only bookcase is filled to the brim with books, and I'm sorry to say I've only read a small amount of them. 

I'm hoping that the Jar will help me pick a new read more easily, and the element of surprise might stop me from buying new books. Ideally, I'd like to include my latest picks in a blog post, but we'll see how quickly I get through the books first. Watch, my first book will be The Luminaries and it'll take me the rest of the year to finish it! 

How do you pick your next read? Have you heard of the TBR Jar before? 


Chelsea xo

Friday, 20 March 2015

The Week That Was #11

So, I've had a pretty great week. Easily the best week of 2015 so far. On Wednesday, we went to see Morrissey in Cardiff, and if you know me, you'll know that's a pretty big deal. Honestly, I cried as soon as he came out on stage, and it was just so surreal to be there. He mostly played stuff from his last album, which all sounded great, but I think a lot of the crowd wanted to hear all the hits, as there was a huuuuge difference when he sang Suedehead or What She Said, for example. 

Of course, not everyone likes Morrissey, so I won't bang on about it too much. On Thursday, I went to London on a top secret mission and stood in front of The Shard. They weren't lying when they said it was big. We didn't go in The Shard, as we weren't there for that, but I'd really like to go with Joe at some point and look across the city. It was such a long day though, I had to be up at half five and then didn't get home until after 10pm, but it was definitely a successful day. I'll tell you about it another time, maybe... ;) 

Wearing a Morrissey tshirt to a Morrissey concert like the twat I am.
Other stuff that happened this week 
- I had to work on Mother's Day, but I drank plenty of gin afterwards to make up for it
- we bought a 2DS after our 3DS snapped in half, so naturally we got the Zelda special edition
- I haven't been to the gym at all this week due to being so busy on my gym days, sadtimes!
- Joe made sourdough. Joe made ginger cake. Joe made the perfect loaf. Joe's been baking on his days off, if you couldn't guess. 
- I went shopping with Joe's sister and bought some patterned trousers - pretty wild, ey? 

As you can see, the other stuff seems a bit boring in comparison to gigs and London, doesn't it? Ah well. I'm picking up my new glasses tomorrow, and that's probably going to be the highlight of the week ahead. I definitely need to catch up with some sleep - and uni work! - after a busy few days! 

How has your week been? Have you been to The Shard?


Chelsea xo

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Wolf & Moon Teal Airola Necklace


A short and sweet post from me today, as I wanted to show you all my beautiful new necklace. I'm a big 'treat yo self' fan, so when I saw that Wolf & Moon had a little 15% off on their spring edit, I couldn't add this Airola necklace in teal to my basket fast enough. I mentioned Wolf & Moon in my Valentine's wish list, so I think this makes a very fitting 'I love me' present, don't you agree? I think this is going to be the start of a very long collection of pretty, glittery things... 


What do you think? Have you heard of Wolf & Moon before?

Chelsea xo

Monday, 16 March 2015

Book Club #12 - Wonder by R.J. Palacio

You might have heard about Wonder. Simply put, it's a book about a young boy entering mainstream school for the first time, after years of being homeschooled. Of course, this isn't a simple kind of story. Unlike most homeschooled kids, August - or Auggie - was born with a facial deformity. Now, I don't know what you think, but kids can be horribly mean. I guess it's because a lot of them haven't developed a filter mode, but some kids are just plain nasty. Being homeschooled would be cause enough to call Auggie as an outcast, never mind bringing a deformity into the equation. 



Wonder is a book aimed at young adults, so I guess a lot of the story is naturally aimed at the problems you might associate with school or with school friends. This didn't stop me thinking that Wonder will hopefully change the insight to hundreds of people out there - that you shouldn't judge on appearance alone. Sure, at times I thought "wow, all these 10 year olds are crazy articulate" but it was nothing that hinders the story. I really liked that the book split off into different view points from the characters, as I find that to be a really effective way to give out new information without having all the characters constantly talking about their feelings to each other.  


If you're looking to find your faith in humanity, Wonder is the book for you. Charming, funny and somewhat inspiring, August is a character you can really root for. 


Have you read Wonder? Would you enjoy reading this? 


Chelsea xo

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The Week That Was #10

I almost forgot to type out today's TWTW post, would you believe? I'd had one of those 'what day of the week is this?' kind of weeks, so it completely passed me by that today is Thursday. Despite, y'know, having a driving lesson like I always do on Thursday, and going to an opticians appointment like I had booked for a Thursday... I've had quite a mixed week, really. I've spend the majority of it being ill, with a nasty cold/flu taking a firm hold on me last Friday, and it's still in the system. I hate being ill as much as the next person, but it really annoyed me that I got a cold when I've recently started upping my vitamin intake! Maybe my fragile immune system just wasn't ready for all that vit C yet. 

Yesterday was probably my most exciting day. I'm working on a live project for a big publisher for uni and ended up meeting and interviewing a fantasy writer. I messed up a little bit - by saying Tom Jones instead of Tom Cruise, weirdly enough - but I don't think anyone really noticed. Then, we went to Toppings bookstore and I was filmed buying some books for the project. Guys, I'm basically famous now. You're probably wondering what else I could have possibly done this week, so let's have a gander.

When filming in a bookstore, you gotta buy some books! Can't wait to start this one :)
- picked out two new pairs of glasses, I can't wait to show you when they arrive!
- took a trip to Bristol with the girls and bought my first ever pair of Topshop jeans. They've got ripped knees and everyone has already took the piss out of me! 
- I also went to Wagamama for the first time this week, I got the katsu chicken curry as that's basically the law for first timers
- I gave myself a beautiful half-manicure, but it made me realise I need a better top coat #chipoff
- I started watching Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and I'm a little bit unsure of it, has anyone started watching yet? 

That's pretty much my week, what have you been up to? 


Chelsea xo

Monday, 9 March 2015

Wicked, Bristol Hippodrome

Imagine the scene - you get off the train at Bristol Temple Meads, and see you need to walk 18 minutes to see a show that starts in 12 minutes. You start to speed walk as much as possible behind people with huge luggage cases, getting to the barriers and notice that it's raining outside. That's fine, you think, a little drizzle never hurt nobody. As you get to the traffic lights by the bottom of the road, the black clouds have well and truly rolled in, pissing out at least three weeks worth of rain. Still, you make a run for it - despite wearing a dress and some fancy shoes - and make it to the show, only a minute or so late. Was it worth it? 

taken from the Wicked website
Hell yeah, it was! I'd booked to see Wicked with a group of work friends absolutely months ago, only knowing that it would be "in February or March" until about a week before the date. I'd decided that as I would be at uni already, I'd simply get the train over to Bristol, grab some food - possibly at Five Guys - and then mooch around until everyone else had drove up. Instead, I finished uni early, got invited to the pub by uni friends, and ended up missing my intended train, and rocking up the show two minutes into the opening song. I'm not entirely sure why, but stuff like this just happens to me when it comes to trains. Never on time when I'm there, never running late when I'm minutes late.

ANYWAYS. Wicked was simply breathtaking. I hadn't been to a musical for a number of years (more fool me!) since seeing Saturday Night Fever at Darlington Civic Theatre in year 10 with school, so I had kind of forgotten how it would be. The whole room was captivated by the stage, and rightly so. The actresses playing Glinda the Good and Elphaba were amazing, of course, but the whole cast were simply perfect, with each song reaching everyone in the room. I mean, it's no wonder that Wicked has broken box-office records around the world, if they keep hiring such amazing talent on stage and behind. 

If at all possible, I'd really recommend seeing Wicked if it comes to a town near you - or taking the trip to London - as it's definitely a must see show! Now, who wants to come and see The Sound of Music with me? 


Chelsea xo

Thursday, 5 March 2015

The Week That Was #9

In my last TWTW post, I told you that I was due to travel to Salisbury for a uni trip to the cathedral. Well, my heck, to Salisbury I went, and up the tower I climbed! We were going to Salisbury as we'd just finished reading The Spire by William Golding, which he took inspiration from the cathedral. Now, I don't know if you're aware of Golding's The Spire, but although his work was fiction, it was actually very accurate in places. What do I mean? Well, by all logical explanation, the spire should not exist as the cathedral only has a mere four foot of foundations below it. So, you can imagine how happy I was to find out we're be climbing up to the top...


Anyhoo, putting my fear of heights behind me, I bravely climbed up the tower with a lovely chap called Rodney as our tour guide. In the unlikely event that you decided to tour the cathedral, I really recommend having Rodney as your guide. He was completely hilarious, and went "full Boyle" if any Brooklyn Nine Nine fans are reading! 

Other exciting things that happened within the week are - 
- I went to see Wicked with some work pals on Monday, and it was completely amazing! 
- I found a lead to a very promising job in children's publishing, so fingers crossed :)
- lots of tickets started arriving for our various gigs, including Morrissey!!!! :D 
- I finally got around to reading Wonder by R. J. Palacio, expect a review soon


What have you been up to? Anything exciting? 


Chelsea xo

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

A Day In Februrary

Hello everyone! I've been wanting to join in with Jane and Louisa's monthly #photoanhour for months. When I remember, I usually get to about lunch time and then remember that I should be taking photographs every hour. You'd think it relatively easy to take a photo every hour, but nope not for me! I decided that this time I would set myself some hourly alarms so I couldn't possibly forget. Anyhoo, I ended up waking up before my first photo prompt, so had a relaxing brew and painted my nails. Now, tell me you aren't intrigued to read more about this amazing day...

9am - catching up with Gogglebox | 10am - freshly showered and ready to go!
11am - listening to the greatest Backstreet Boys song & writing blog posts | 12pm - colour coding all the things
1pm - trying to read with this weirdo staring at me | 2pm - forgot to post my lunch, so let's look at how fluffy Monty is!
3pm - this is my "watching The Office" face | 4pm - made the bed, with added lens flare
5pm - watching Aladdin with Spider-Man | 6pm - best friends!
7pm - God helps us all if this actually happened | 8pm - looking for a new phone case
9pm - doing a spot of blog reading! | 10pm - playing with Emile! 
The beady-eyed out of you may notice the change in natural daylight with the last picture, but I'd completely forgot to take a photo as I had a hamster to watch out for - we'd recently bought him a ball and he just looooves crashing into various walls. Bit weird. But yeah, that was my Saturday! I had hoped to venture out and do something more exciting than take the dog for a walk, but Dylan and Monty blimmin' loved it, so can't complain too much! 

Did you take part in the #photoanhour challenge? I really enjoyed it! 


Chelsea xo
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