Thursday, 30 April 2015

Book Club #15 - Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

It's not a well-loved book until you spill coffee on the corner... 
Station Eleven is one of those books that you never top hearing about. It was getting praise and more praise, and I still didn't even own a copy. I'd stopped myself from buying it for a while thanks to my book buying ban and the TBR jar, but temptation got the better of me. Boy, am I glad it did! After a somewhat deflating previous read, I couldn't have picked a better book to get me gripped into reading again. Let's have a look at the blurb...
One snowy night in Toronto famous actor Arthur Leander dies on sage whilst performing the role of a  lifetime. That same evening a deadly virus touches down in North America. The world will never be the same again. Twenty years later, Kirsten, an actress in the Travelling Symphony, performs Shakespeare in the settlements that have grown up since the collapse. But then her newly hopeful world is threatened. If civilisation was lost, what would you preserve? And how far would you go to protect it? 
You might have guessed that I'm a fan of dystopian novels, so clearly Station Eleven was right up my street. However, what I loved about this is that Mandel really went all out to create an interlocking and weaving web of connections. Arthur Leander died twenty years before the novel is set, but his role in the book is huge. You hear the first link to the character and think "oh yes, that's clever!" and then the next link is even better, and the next one... 

Station Eleven has had some excellent feedback, and rightly so. If you're not into dystopian novels, I would still give this a read, as it's not too unbelievable. We hear reports every day that we're using up all the fossil fuels, and greenhouse gases are ruining the earth's atmosphere so the 'future' in the novel could one day be likely. It's a scary thought, of course, and I doubt we'd all band together to perform Shakespeare in the desert, but why not? Ey?  

Chelsea xo

Monday, 27 April 2015

Summer To-Do List!

Now that the weather has started to brighten up, I've been thinking a lot about summer. Well, to be honest, I've been thinking about life after uni deadlines mostly, but that's just the start of summer, right? Right? I'm quite conscious of my little 101 in 1001 Days list and how that time is ticking over, so I thought it might be a nice idea to show you some of my plans from there that I'd like to cross out over the summer. I've no idea what I'll be doing after university ends, so this seems like a good way to inject some life into those scary first months of officially being an adult!*

Pass my driving test!
I'd like to do this as soon I can. I've been taking lessons, but have had to take a break due to deadline stresses, so once these are out of the way I'd like to get stuck in again. I'm hopefully not far off, and I'd love to be able to give Joe a rest from being the designated driver for the past four years! 

Finish my degree with a 2:1 or higher
I've done pretty well with my grades so far this year, but I have some pretty weighty assignments left which could really swing my grades either way. I would be so happy with a 2:1 but whatever I achieve, I know I can be proud of myself for getting this far. 

Go to Longleat
We've been planning a girl's trip to Longleat so hopefully we can do that this summer! I've never been before, but I think it's probably one of the most popular attractions in Somerset, so I've got no excuse for not going before now! Definitely won't be driving to this one, though! Ha!

See some Red Pandas
Man, I love me some red pandas. 

Own a BBQ
Since moving to this house last summer, we were determined to have a house-warming BBQ party and invite our nearest and dearest, but it's pretty hard to do that when you don't own a BBQ. Joe's been eyeing up some fancy pants smoker/BBQ combo thing which sounds pretty pricey to me, but Joe assures me that it means better tasting food for me. Which can only be an excellent thing. 

Go to a karaoke night
Guys, I have been campaigning for a karaoke night with my university chums for three years. THREE YEARS. And no one will do it cos they're all wimps. I'm going to go to one in the summer and I don't care if I have to do it alone. Is it such a crime to want to sing Destiny's Child songs in public?  

So there's my summer to-do list! It's only a handful of things from my 101 days list, so who knows? I might do all of this and then some! I'm wild, baby! Do you have any plans for the summer?

Chelsea xo

*if being a mam and wife wasn't enough!

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Get Ready for the Ultimate Book Tag!

Well hello, beautiful people! I was trawling the internet, as you do, and found this - The Ultimate Book Tag. I know some people don't really care for tags, so if that's you I do apologise. On the flippity flip, if you love a good ol' tag, then it's your lucky day!* 

1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?
I don't read in the car, as I'm usually acting as sat-nav, but I can read on the train with no problem at all. That's probably completely different to reading in the car, but I won't tell if you don't. 

2. Which author's writing style is completely unique to you and why?
I think it would have to be Eimear McBride's style is really different. Her award winning A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing really made me work to read it, if that makes sense, and added an extra layer of struggle in an already bleak book. It's excellent though, and won the last Baileys Woman's Prize for Fiction, so do give it a read if you haven't had the chance already. 

3. Harry Potter series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.
Gunna go with HP. I actually read the Twilight books when I was at college (and totally old enough to know better), and they were just super bad. So that's point number one, point number two is that because of these books, 50 Shades of shite now exists. Point number three would be that Harry Potter gave us Neville Longbottom, and my goodness, what a fine young man he became. 

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is it in (besides books...)?
Is that meant to be, 'if so, wha is in it...'? How oddly phrased. Anyways, I have a few canvas Books Are My Bag bags, and one that says Read Is The New Black from I've Read That, and I try to tote them around as much as possible. They don't actually have books in them, I think, although one might have Dylan's weekend book from nursery and some Bing Bunny story books in there.

5. Do you smell your books? 
Not often, but I do like flicking the pages really fast so it makes that fluttery sound. Wow, that was the oddest sentence I've wrote in a while... 

6. Books with or without little illustrations?
I don't mind whatsoever. I guess it depends on the book. The last book I read with illustrations was Wonder by R. J. Palacio and I thought it really added to the story. I'd love to read the illustrated version of A Monster Calls, so *hint hint* to any family members reading this. 

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn't quality writing? 
Erm, I'm not sure really. I absolutely adored The Fault In Our Stars when I read it, and gave it a high rating on goodreads, but after reading a few other books I went back and lowered my score as although it deals with some issues that I could relate to, I thought it was a bit farfetched, and found the narrative to be unrealistic. That's just my opinion, of course, if you love this book then don't hate on me. 

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!
I don't really have any funny stories. I know it's not a book. but I used to collect the Little Mermaid magazines when I was around five or something, and my mam decided to surprise me one day and paint my whole bedroom in an underwater seascape thing with all the characters in it. She'd used my awesome projector sketcher thing (please tell me you know what I mean) and had traced all the characters, and they looked perfect. Sadly, she hadn't really thought about placement, and had put Ursula the sea witch on the wall, exactly where I looked when I fell asleep, so the last thing I saw at night would be her glow in the dark eyes and teeth (why mother, why?). Took me months to train myself to sleep facing the other side, haha!

9. What is the thinnest book on your shelf?
I need to go and check, but I think it's probably Animal Farm by George Orwell.

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf? 
Goodness, we've got a few thick tomes on the shelf, but it's...

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?
I only really write this blog, so I wouldn't say so. I do hope to work with authors in the future though. Just gotta hope that some snazzy publisher will hire me.

12. When did you get into reading? 
I've always read, or been read to, at least. It started with Winnie the Pooh and Peter Rabbit, and then Ally's World and Harry Potter, before reading Wuthering Heights and a whole host of other stuff from basically ever genre going. I'm really glad that throughout my life, I've always had reading there.

13. What is your favourite classic book? 
I've just mentioned it, but it has to be Wuthering Heights. Oh man, I have so much love for this book. So much so, I own four copies of it, and I'm constantly having to remind myself that when they issue out new cover designs.

14. In school was your best subject Language Arts/English?
Wut? I did really well in both English Literature and English Language, but my best subject was probably Mathematics, would you believe? I even did an additional Statistics GCSE as I was such a hardcore mathlete.        

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated... what would you do?
I would burn that mo'fo. Jokes, I would be thankful they know me well enough to know that books are an ideal gift and regift it, probably, or give it to charity. This doesn't really happen though as I'm always talking about books I'd like to read/buy hoping that someone will help poor student me.

16. What is a lesser known series that you know of that is similar to Harry Potter or the Hunger Games? 
I don't really read many books like Harry Potter or the Hunger Games, but one of the best book series I've ever read is Margaret Atwood's MaddAdam trilogy. It's dystopian, so sort of along the lines of Hunger Games I guess, but completely different and so amazing and just read it omg. 

17. What is a bad habit you always do (besides rambling) while filming?
I don't film book reviews (I'm guessing that's what it means), but I would like to. I think my bad book habit would be that I hate stopping before the end of a chapter. I could be so, so tired and just keep reading to the end of the chapter, even if I know I'm not fully taking it in, and will probably need to re-read it before I continue. Woe. 

18. What is your favourite word?
My favourite word? It's probably cleave, which I remember learning about when we read the Scottish play at school. Not entirely sure if it's even in it, but it basically means to pull apart or to stick together, which I quite like. 

19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?
What a stupid question.

20. Finally, full on romance or action-packed with a few love scenes thrown in? 
I'd probably go for the latter, but romance or 'action-packed' books aren't really my thing. Gimme a bit of mystery, or something completely bizarre, and I'm a happy reader.  

I hope you enjoyed the Ultimate Book Tag, link me up if you give it a go! 

Chelsea xo

*probably. If you win the lottery, remember you owe me.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

The Week That Was #16

I really annoys me how close this post is to my last TWTW, silly blogger messing up my scheduling!  Anyhoo, I still have plenty to talk about in this instalment, so never fear. As I sort of brushed upon in my last update, last week I applied to some grad placement schemes for some fancy publishers. In London, would you believe? I've got ridiculously low chances of a place - what with the huge amounts of people who apply, and the fact that I'm a wally - but if I didn't apply I would have zero chance. So there's a positive for you! I really struggle with selling myself (ooer!) at times, which makes writing a project portfolio as one of my final assignments at uni super fun as well. I am good at stuff, for any potential employers reading this, but I think I'm too Northern to sing my own praises. 

Same wall, different instagram filters... 
Other stuff that happened this week!
- our print mag was launched, hurrah! I had the duty of giving it an online presence, so have a look! 
- I went to the awesome Laura Ashley crafts event, hosted by Joe Blogs and The Crafty Hen
- I also went to Alton Towers! I went on all the scary rides and met Sonic
- Joe bought me two new books, which you can see above. I'm so excited to start Haus Frau
- I kicked everyone's butt at Disney Monopoly, which is lucky considering I'm such a sore loser
- I ended my driving lesson hiatus as I just love juggling twenty things at once... 

So yeah, a pretty fun week all in all when you look at it! Of course I've been getting on with uni work, as this week marked my first week of the last ever term. Gosh, that's such a scary thought. I can't believe that in less than a month I'll be finished with uni! I've booked myself in for as many tutorials as possible before all my various deadlines, so hopefully I can really push myself in the right direction and come out with my best grade. 

How has your week been? 

Chelsea xo

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

K is for...

Can you believe my last alphabet update was in August? Crikey! I had to go waaaay into the archives to find which letter I was up to, and it turns out to be K. I couldn't really narrow down one K word, so I thought I would follow in Louisa's footsteps and list a few different K things. Sound good? Good. 

I am just awful for keeping cinema stubs and half-ripped gig tickets, which all end up in a pretty box, never to be looked at again. It really drives Joe insane, but I'm always certain that one day I'll make a beautiful interest-inspired display for them. Other keepsakes include 'flowers with special meanings', which started when my grandad left me a book after he died which had a rose he had pressed, from my grannie's funeral. Happy stuff, ey? 

I like to think I'm a nice gal. I used to be a complete wimp and get upset so easily, so I vowed to just be kind to others. It doesn't cost you anything, but it could mean a hell of a lot to someone else. 

Kate Bush, Kraftwerk, Kyte, Kylie Minogue... 
Just some of the musicians beginning with K. I've got to be honest though and say that my love for Kylie started after I realised how absolutely psycho the lyrics to I Should Be So Lucky are. 

Possibly my favourite Disney character, but only if I had to choose, of course.

Bit of an odd mix, I'm sure you'll agree, but hopefully you could agree with something. I'm going to keep on top of this, and make sure I don't leave another eight months before the next one... 

Chelsea xo

Monday, 20 April 2015

The Week That Was #15

Edit: I wrote and scheduled this post on Saturday but blogger had other ideas and sent it to drafts! 


I must apologise for how late this week's TWTW post is. I can't even remember what I was doing on Thursday that made me forget to post. Oh actually, yes I do. I was sending off another application form for a graduate scheme. So, with a little luck you can forgive my editorial tardiness with this 'ere post! I managed to get back into the gym this week, as Dylan was back at childcare for a few days, and I've got to say it really helped.  I know people always say that working out is therapeutic but it took me a tad longer to realise! 

The highlight of my week though, was having a super exciting blogger parcel finally arrive. After a few problems with a notoriously bad delivery service - you can probably guess which one - it arrived on Wednesday and made me really happy. Oh, how materialistic I've become! 

Don't suppose any of you guys are Open Access masterminds? #uniworkwoes
Other fun things include uni work, recording myself read Walt Whitman poems and even more uni work. It's a hard life, but in a month or so it'll all be over and I'll be entering the real world. As you can imagine I'm roughly 80% terrified of that thought! 

What have you been up to this week? 

Chelsea xo

A Taste of Wonderland

Cast your mind back to January, and you might remember me mentioning a book proposal I had to create for one of my modules. If not, let me remind you. Basically we had to make a book proposal (you don't say!) relating to food in some way. It could have been a Nigel Slater-esque memoir to food, a recipe book or even a book about certain food issues. As I've said time and time again, I'd like to work in children's publishing, so I chose to take my inspiration from my favourite children's literature. 

I've already shared a little snippet of my book proposal on my blog before, but I really wanted to show you the finished piece. For the actual recipes, I took all the images myself, but I did source background patterns and such from the glorious internet. Oh what a glorious age we live in. 

I'd love to know what you think of it, and of course, let me know if you use any recipes! 

Chelsea xo

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Play day for Dylan with #GeorgeTopToys

You might not think a post about toys can be relevant to you, but I'm sure most people reading this will have a younger sibling, or a nephew maybe. Maybe not, but when I was asked to feature some toys on my little blog, I couldn't say no. I think I was probably feeling guilty about putting my uni work first over the easter holidays, so in a way this post is entirely a bribe to my three year old. Sure, I forgot about that playdate you were meant to have, but look... it's Batman

What can I say? Superboy loves Batman. Anyhoo, the good folks from George at ASDA asked me to pick some top toys for this weird chap, and I must say, I had a hard time choosing! I think I must have a really small ASDA or something, as I didn't realise they sold such a huge range of toys! Really fun educational and developmental toys such as the Despicable Me Play-Doh to every kid's favourite Lego and construction toys and even the odd bit of arts and crafts - something that would be perfect for those April showers we're likely to have.

I've decided to only give Dylan one toy at a time - meaning, I'm putting off building and then standing on the Lego, ha! - as I often worry he'll grow up with spoilt-only-child syndrome! Joe's going to be off work for a two week holiday soon so I'm sure we'll be getting crafty or super messy with his new toys! With any luck, I'll be able to rope Joe into doing all the tidying up as well, but let's leave that for another post... 

What do you think of my selection? Aren't toys so much better these days?! 

Chelsea xo

twitter - bloglovin' - instagram

*Items were sent in exchange for this review, but as always, all thoughts are my own. And Dylan's.*

Monday, 13 April 2015

Book Club #14 - The Watcher In The Shadows by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

I'll be honest with you, I picked this up for two reasons. One, the cover is super pretty and two, I needed a second book for a 'buy one get one half price' deal which seemed too good to pass up. Sure, I should have probably bought a book I had heard about before, but I let reason one sway my mind. If you've heard of Carlos Ruiz Zafón before, you'll know of The Shadow of the Wind, easily his most popular title. I actually have The Shadow of the Wind, but misplaced it while moving, so I thought this would be a good book to read. I probably should have just bought The Shadow of the Wind again. 

The cover might not look so special, but it changes colour when you move it around.

You can probably tell that I didn't really enjoy The Watcher in the Shadows. The blurb actually sounded really good, let's have a look. 
An enigmatic toymaker who lives as a recluse in an old mansion, surrounded by the fantastical beings he has created. An eerie figure that watches from behind the curtains of a locked room. Strange lights that flicker through the mist from an abandoned lighthouse. A shadowy creature that hides deep in the woods and has already claimed one life. These are the elements of a mystery that will bind Irene to Ismael during a magical summer in Blue Bay, when her mother becomes housekeeper to the secretive toymaker, Lazarus Jann. 
In no way did I expect this to be a novel for children. Don't get me wrong, I love a good YA novel - see some reviews here and here - but that's usually because I know enough about them to want to read them, if that makes sense. I truly thought something scandalous would happen, but instead all the characters were limited and rather woody. But I guess that's what happens when you read a PG horror (I guess?) novel. I did wonder if the stiffness of the characters could be down to something being lost in translation but I've read other translated books which have truly been a pleasure to read. 

It's a shame that this book just didn't deliver what I'd hoped, that'll show me for picking up a book on a whim! Have you read any Carlos Ruiz Zafón novels? 

Chelsea xo

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Woodland Hill, Fyne Court

Gotta love that mid-air action shot. I thought I'd taken a few more landscape pictures of our recent trip to Woodland Hill, but it seems not! Any excuse for some extra Dylan on the blog though, right?

Chelsea xo

Thursday, 9 April 2015

The Week That Was #14

Alriiiiight! So since my last weekly update, I've had my informal chat thing. I'm not entirely sure how it went, I'm definitely still trying to process the whole situation. But life goes on, and tonight I'm seeing McBusted with my babe Leona, so no time to dwell on things! In other news, I feel like I made some progress with one of my uni projects, so that's nice. It's still a long way to go, and I have a lot of reading left to do, but it's finally getting there! 

The face of happiness, if you couldn't tell. Chocolate Orange ice-cream is the one <3
Other nice things I've been up to include - 
- spending the day in Bath with Joe and Dylan! 
- seeing the beautiful sunset on Tuesday, did you catch it?
- trips to the beach and evenings playing boardgames with the extended family
- baking a bloody huge mini egg cake! Honestly guys, I'm so talented, it hurts. 
- updating my phone so I have new emojis, yessssaaaa!

What have you been up to this week?

Chelsea xo

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

An Eggcellent Start To April

Ho hum, I'm so hilarious. I hope that now it's Wednesday we've all gotten back into the swing of things after a pretty wild bank holiday weekend! I had a really lush time, as I gave myself a few days off from uni work to devour some chocolate spend time with Dylan. We made a card for his nana and we went for a National Trust park and had a lovely stroll. What else did we do? Oh yeah, I only went and made a giant mini egg cake! 

"and a hot egg!"
I pretty much just copied this recipe word for word, I just used a different colour to icing it with. It was more lilac in person, but sadly there's none left to prove it! Anyhoo, I had great fun making this, and if you're ever somewhat inclined to make an egg shaped cake, then I say go for it. I was tempted to let Dylan help me with the splatters on the cake, but to be honest I made enough mess for the two of us. 

By the time you read this, I should be having my all exciting chat with a potential employer, so keep on rootin' for me! It would really lift a huge weight from my shoulders if this goes well. No pressure on you guys, though... ;) 

What did you get up to over Easter? 

Chelsea xo

Monday, 6 April 2015

April To-Do List

So it might already be six days into April, but I still wanted to pop a little to-do list up on the ol' blog. As I've mentioned plenty of times, my final deadlines are really looming over me, and I still have a lot to do in just over a month! It's scary stuff! 

or, Working My Arse Off In April Will Make Me Stress Less In May - link

  • work super hard on all my assignments, concentrating on my Creative Enterprise module as that deadline is soonest! 
  • chase any outstanding emails I've sent, relating to uni work 
  • keep at the gym - it might be time away from studying, but it really helps me to relax and gather my thoughts!
  • eat better, sleep better, work better - it can't be that hard, right?
  • take one day at a time
So that's the major stuff, but fear not - this month I am also seeing Leona again so we can see McBusted! Wahoo! And I have this chat coming up with a potential employer, so that should be interesting. Joe's managed to get the day off so we'll hopefully be able to have a fun time in Bath afterwards. 

Another thing I'd like to do, is keep on top of my blog - even if I'm just dedicating a few hours in the week to put together one post, I'd like to keep us all in the loop! 

What are your plans for April?

Chelsea xo

Thursday, 2 April 2015

The Week That Was # 13

Best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, as they say, and this week it most certainly did! I had the best intentions for this week and created a cute and colourful study schedule for the easter holidays, but they had already started falling apart by Monday. Day one. I'm hoping that this isn't a sign of things to come, however, as I really need to work SO hard over the next six weeks or so. It's so scary seeing that my time at university will end in six weeks - argh! 

Now that I've completely freaked myself out, I did get up to a few other things as well this week. I had a really good driving lesson (yes I know, why am I still doing lessons when I should be working?!) on Tuesday, and Joe made some excellent food for a dinner party that never happened. Still, more yummy food for us! Wanna know what else I've been up to..?

- I managed to get myself invited to an informal chat with a potential employer next week! Yay me!
- I had to record myself reading O Captain! My Captain! for a uni project - it's not good!
- I bought a long-line cardigan (and some bits that need sending back, boo!) and it's my new favourite thing ever :)
- I dug out my glass teapot and had some amazing Russian Caravan tea, my fave!

And apart from uni work, that's pretty much it! I do really need to knuckle down with my work, so if you see me tweeting utter garbage, feel free to tell me to sod off and do some work! :) How has your week been? 

Chelsea xo

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

We're Going Shopping, Loser!

It's April Fool's Day! I haven't pulled a prank in many years, but it's still a phrase I say. Bit weird that, isn't it? Anyhoo, I'm not here to discuss April Fool's Day, but to show you a tiny shopping spree I had last week. I'd checked my Boots app whilst bored on the bus, and saw a new notification about a triple points event. I'm currently trying to save my points up, so I fell head first into Boots to hit the required spend! 

I've been wanting a pocket mirror for ruddy ages, after losing my adorable Hello Kitty one. There were some really modest mirrors in there, but I had to get this bright pink Models Own compact mirror. On the website it looks orange - which I would have actually preferred! - but mine is definitely pink. The Elegant Touch false nails were on buy one get one free, so naturally I got two packs. I actually picked the slate grey nails for a night out that never happened, sob, and I just couldn't resist the easter egg inspired nails! I think you can guess when I'll be wearing those.

I'm a bit nail mad, so I couldn't stop at just two nail purchases. I'd wanted this No7 Nail Care Ridge Filling Base since I'd first heard all about it, so I snapped that up. My nails are generally fine, but sometimes nail polish just doesn't sit properly and I'm hoping this fixes it. You can't tell in this picture, but the dark looking No7 nail polish is actually a beautiful shimmery blue. It's quite dreamy, but now I'm thinking it might be too dark for spring. 

Last two beauty products now! I've been wanting to experiment with my eyebrows, so I picked up this L'Oreal Brow Artist Genius Kit in medium/dark. I'm a bit scared to try it, as I'm a complete novice when it comes to brows, but the reviews have all been pretty good. I usually complain about my lack of top lip, but I really liked the look of these Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque liquid lipsticks. I plumped for the first shade, which is a peachy nude - I think! 

So there we have it! Have you picked up any new beauty goodies recently? 

Chelsea xo

© Love in Modern Life. Design by Fearne.