Monday, 30 November 2015

Dylan's Christmas Wishlist

Now, Dylan is only four so thankfully he hasn't started circling every toy in the Argos catalogue yet but I thought it would be nice to show things that I've either bought him already or will be asking other family members Santa to get for him. As you might already know, Dylan is completely obsessed with superheroes - his favourite being Batman - so it's safe to say they feature heavily in this post! 

So, let's start with the Marvel toys. This is one of the things that I've already picked up for Dylan as it seems quite cool. I bought this Super Hero Mashers set with Captain America as it also comes with various bits of other Marvel superheroes such as Hulk, Thor and Iron man. You can also buy individual Super Hero Mashers, so I grabbed a Spiderman and Wolverine to add to the mix up. I didn't see this Super Hero Adventures with Tony Stark set in my local store, but I'm definitely going to order this for Dylan! Luckily, I have a few things I need to send back, so hopefully I can put that money towards this one! 

I'm not entirely sure if Dylan is a big Clangers fan, but I know they've brought them back on cbeebies, and I've been known to pop it on if I ever need ten minutes to concentrate on something, ha! I think they're cute though, and Dylan loves playing with little figures so I'm sure these will be a hit. Something I'll be reluctantly getting him is this little Pepper Pig set. Out of nowhere, Dylan has become possessed by that snotty little pig and he's always trying to switch Netflix on to watch it. In a bit to curb the remote-hogging (geddit?) I'll get him the little figures instead. 

Two more already-bought things now. I actually bought this 8 Family Favourites DVDs bundle from HMV but their website is weird so I've had to use an Amazon link. I actually couldn't believe how good value this is, as I'm pretty sure Dylan has never seen any of these movies - what, we're a Disney household! - so I think this will go down well. Lastly, it's Nintendogs as Dylan just loves puppies. I'll let you in on a little secret - sometimes if Dylan won't go to bed, we look at pictures of puppies on my phone. Suuuure the blue light from my phone is probably counter-productive, but it's SO CUTE when he asks and I just love looking at puppies, okay?! 

So there we have it! Dylan's pretty much sorted for this year! 

Chelsea xo

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Christmas Book Wish List 2015

As long as I blog, I will post a Christmas book wish list on here, so I thought I'd be to the point with my title. Now, it could be argued that I don't actually need any more books because I have too many unread books on my shelves, I'm running out of space to put them and because I could just hop down to my local library - but where's the fun in that, I ask? Another reason to post about a book wish list is that I will always want more books. Be it Christmas, birthdays or a 'just because' kind of present, books are the way to go. I'm managed to narrow it down to seven great books I need in my life, so let's have a look!

Isn't that a great bunch of covers? I can't even decide on a favourite! First off, I've got Louise O'Neill's Asking For It that I had to put on my list after reading the incredible Only Ever Yours. O'Neill's writing definitely strikes a chord with me, and I think everyone should be reading her novels. Next, it's The Girl With All The Gifts by M. R. Carey. I'd heard about this and been intrigued by the storyline, but it wasn't until I saw one of those 'people who bought this also bought this...' things that made me think it might actually be something I would enjoy. It's been described as tense and unputdownable and I've definitely been enjoying books like that recently!

I think you would call The First Bad Man by Miranda July a feminist romance (if that is even a genre?) but this has been near the top of every 'best of..' list for this year. For that alone, I need it in my life. July's writing has been called unpredictable and exciting, which is always great if you ask me! Then we have Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. I pretty much love everything Kaling has put her name to, from The Office to The Mindy Show to voicing a basic white girl in Wreck It Ralph, but I've never read her books! I'm not entirely sure if this is following on from her first book, but if so - I wouldn't mind that one too...

I actually first became aware of Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf on twitter, when the lovely Sarah recommended it to Bee. They're both excellent booky sorts, so I quit my stalking and added it to my wish list. Of course, I then went back to stalking them on social media, but we're not here to talk about that. Our Souls at Night sounds positively dreamy, and I think will be similar to Etta & Otto & Russell & James by Emma Hooper. 

The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer is something I noticed right back at the start of the year, in some sort of 'ones to watch' list that brought me Hausfrau. I ruddy loved Hausfrau, and I'm hoping that The Girl in the Red Coat will be just as gripping. It's also been said in reviews that this book has a great ending - something I've been longing for! Lastly, Attachments by Rainbow Rowell is on my list. I think this is meant to be one of Rowell's 'adult' books, although as a fan of her YA novels I'm sure I'll enjoy this. The storyline sounds really sweet, and I'm sure to get swept in by the first page! Sadly, I can never seem to find Attachments whenever I go to my local bookshop, but if you're in the mood to treat me, you might have better luck ;) 

So there we have it, one more book wish list for this year! It's now one month until Christmas, which seems totally crazy to me! If you haven't already bought presents for your nearest and dearest, then I hope this helps a little.

Do any of these make your list? What do you think I should add to my ever-growing wish list?

Chelsea xo

Monday, 23 November 2015

White Wedding

On Friday I was thrilled to attend a family wedding as Joe's oldest brother got married! His lovely bride is such a sweetheart, and we've already become great friends. The ceremony was held in Bristol, with a gorgeous view of Brunel's Clifton suspension bridge and the horrid rain even cleared off so we could enjoy some blue skies!  

I wanted to share the above photo as it's quite a rarity to get the whole family together - and I wanted to show off my pretty dress. If we're pals on twitter you may have seen my call for help when I needed to pick between dresses, and this stunning red dress was a clear winner. 

Anyways, just a short post today! Doesn't the bride look lovely?

Chelsea xo

Friday, 20 November 2015

My Top 5 Ways to Feel Better

Well hello! Today I thought I'd talk about some of my top five ways for feeling a bit better. Whether you're under the weather, drowning in work or just feeling a bit down - these are the things that work for me. Hopefully, one or two things could work for you as well. Here's hoping! 

Make something
Could be your favourite meal, a fancy hot chocolate or even whipping out the sewing machine - but I always find getting busy and making something always makes me feel a bit better. I live with a chef, so most of my favourite meals tend to be too tricky for me to replicate but I can make a banging hot chocolate or fabric iPad cover if you need one! My last make was some pretty bunting as a wedding present which is super easy to do but looks great. 

look at all that raw emotion!
Have a good ol' sing song
Most people would probably put Disney songs here, as they're generally all upbeat and lovely, but when I'm feeling really down I love to get the emotions going. If you see on my Spotify that I'm listening to Nothing Compares 2 U then you know I'm having a moment. I guess this is my version of 'watching a film to make yourself cry' tip, but I'm one of those people who really ties a song to a moment, so it really helps me to unleash my emotions by singing along. One of my other faves to sing along with is Everything Everything's latest album, as it's really atmospheric and all angsty about the rise of UKIP and other such larks. 

Look at pictures of Dylan/puppies
You should probably replace 'Dylan' with whatever cute thing you have in your life or I'll have you arrested but I always find looking at something cute or pretty really eases my mind. I mean, it's not exactly helpful if the reason I'm annoyed is Dylan (because who said grinding play-dough into the carpet isn't fun?) but for most occasions I can look at his cute baby photos and just feel really happy inside. 

Read a book
It's another really obvious one, but what better way to escape reality than to jump into somebody else? The options are pretty endless with this one as you could pick out a childhood classic or your favourite ever novel, or even something that you've been meaning to read for ages! That's a double whammy, the last one, as you get rid of some of that #bookshelfguilt that I always seem to suffer from. I'm sorry old, unread books! 

Treat Yo'Self
It's the best day of the year! Okay, okay, I'm not saying you should go all cray and indulge in too much retail therapy, but if there's one thing that you've been eyeing up for a while and you think it will improve your life - go for it! Whether it's a book, new stationery or even just getting your nails done, I think the little things can really help lift your mood! Just make sure it's not a regular occurrence, y'hear! 

Do any of these work for you? What do you do to feel better?

Chelsea xo

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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

M is for...


I really don't talk about Monty enough on this here blog. My little fluff ball has been in my life for around five years now, and I can't remember life without him! Having grown up with pets, I always knew I wanted a dog, but I would have never imagined myself with a miniature Dachshund, let alone a long haired beauty like Monty! We always had massive dogs, and even had a Great Dane called Arnie at one point, so I really never pictured myself with anything below knee height. 

You might not know that Monty is a rescue dog. He's a pedigree, but sadly fell victim to doggy cancer in his boy bits, and after he had his bits removed his owners - who had clearly wanted him to breed - deemed him worthless and wanted rid of him. He was such a scaredy cat when I adopted him, and would cower away and hide if you did so much as clap your hands, and any other loud noises made him hide under anything he could find. These days, he's such a boisterous chap - always barking at the post man - it makes me both happy and sad to think about how much he's changed! 

Monty's getting on a bit now, he turned nine this year, but he's still got loads of life left in him - especially at meal times! Over the past year or two, he's started bossing us about and even attempts to climb the stairs if we don't come down early enough to give him breakfast - cheeky lad!

Do you have any pets? Show me, show me!

Chelsea xo

Monday, 16 November 2015

The Classic Book Tag

I love a good tag, I do! I'm quite nosy, so I love learning odds and ends about people - even better if it's all on one handy topic, like books! I found this little tag over on Megan's blog, and I've kept it at the top of my 'to blog' pile for quite some time. While you're at it, if blogs about books are your thang, make sure you check Megan out - after reading the tag, of course.

1. Name a hyped classic that you really didn't enjoy.
I'm not sure if it's hyped as such, but I had to read Persuasion by Jane Austen and hated it. I didn't manage to finish it, which is something I always try to do. 

2. Favourite time period to read about?
I quite like reading more in modern - or close to modern - times. I know most classics would be classed as earlier than that, but if it's more than a few centuries old then I tend to lose interest.

3. Favourite fairytale?
I loved the Little Match Girl when I was younger, but I think now I would say The Frog Prince.

4. What classic are you embarrassed to admit you haven't read?
I haven't read a lot of classics, so quite a few! I haven't read the works of Shakespeare, which is probably something to be embarrassed about, but that's because I think reading a play is a silly. You should watch a play, obvs.

5. Top five classics you want to read next?
Top five? Yikes. I really want to read The Great Gatsby, as I haven't done so, and maybe something like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I've also got Orange Is Not The Only Fruit on my TBR list. Two more, let me think... Lord of the Flies and To The Lighthouse. I should probably have put these as all answers to question 4 as well. 

6. Favourite modern book/series based on a classic?
I loved Hausfrau, which I believe is meant to be a take on Anna Karenina, but I haven't read that either. Crikey, the list just grows, doesn't it?

7. Favourite movie adaptation/tv series based on a classic?
Can I say Clueless? It was based on a Jane Austen novel, so... It's probably the only way to enjoy Austen, if you ask me! 

8. Worst classic to screen adaptation?
I'm not sure if you consider The 39 Steps to be a classic, but it's the worst book to screen adaptation of all time. No, I'm not talking about the Alfred Hitchcock film, but the app. I studied it during my Literature in the Digital Age module last year, and oh my god, it is so slow. For a fast-paced, full-of-action novel it seems so dull. 

9. Favourite editions you'd like to collect more classics from?
I desperately want the sewn covers by Penguin as they're beautiful. I wish they'd do a Wuthering Heights one as that would be a great cover to add to my ever growing collection. 

10. An under-hyped classic you'd recommend to everyone?  
Can you have an under-hyped classic? I'd recommend The Elegance of The Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, as it's a lovely story, and made me feel rather sophisticated to be reading a French novel. Translated, of course, but still. 

Fancy doing the Classic Book tag? I'd love to know your answers!

Chelsea xo

Friday, 13 November 2015

TBR: Winter Edition

My apologies for the terrible post name, I couldn't think of anything more creative! My last TBR list  was way back in September but I managed to read all the books I mentioned so I thought I would post another one. I've called this one the winter edition as they're books I plan to read in the next two months, not that they're in any way wintery. Although they might be, I just don't know that yet. Anyhoo, enough of this, let's see what I plan to read!

I've got library books on there, Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer and Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson. Acceptance is the third book in the Southern Reach Trilogy, and I've been dying to review the first two on here, but I thought it would be better to review the whole collection. So naturally, I'm reading that one right now. I picked up Oranges... as I feel like it's a book I should have read. 

Next up, we have Holy Cow by David Duchovny. I've never known how to pronounce his last name, but it has never stopped me trying. Holy Cow has been described as a 'funny book with a message' and although I can guess at what the message might be, the sign of a good book will be whether it's preachy or not. Now, on the opposite end of the book scale (and cover design) there's Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. I've wanted to read this since Hayley named it one of her tops reads of 2014. I saw that this has been made into a film recently, but I'm one of those awful people that has to read the book first, so that is what I intend to do. 

Last, but by no means least, we have I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai. I tend to stick to fiction when picking books to read, but I really think Malala's story is one that needs to be shared. I've followed her story since the very beginning, and I can't wait to read her personal account of it all. 

What books do you plan on reading? Have you read any of these?

Chelsea xo

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Living Room Wish List

When you rent a house, there never seems to be anything you can do to really make it feel homely. In our place, we're not allowed to paint, hang things up or anything remotely exciting, which means it can be hard to personalise our space. Sure, Dylan's junk tends to fill it up and you can definitely tell he lives here, but I don't think people visit me and think "yes, this is Chelsea's house". Although I endeavour to not rely on 'stuff' to make my mark, sometimes it can be just the thing to some personality to an otherwise boring room! 

Although I call this little space a 'book and lifestyle' blog, I tend to spend most of my evenings watching TV. I know that this is basically a life sin, but now that the weather has turned, going outside seems like the least attractive thing to do! So instead, I stay in, all warm and toasty, and catch up with a Netflix marathon or two. That's why I think we should get a new TV to watch in style. Joe's a big fan of Which? magazine and after they ran an article on 4K sets, he's been obsessed with them. I'm always half surprised when I come home and he hasn't replaced our current TV already! The Panasonic Viera range looks really sleek, and they scored well in Which? so I imagine we'd go for one of those! Next, it's two boxsets to watch. Annoyingly, Netflix stops at season 3 for Suits, so I'm hoping to get my hands on 4 and 5 to keep my fix alive. Another annoyingly, is that we're SO BEHIND on Mad Men, due to not having Sky. Stupid Sky exclusive shows. 

Back to the book side of the blog, and I just love this grey bookcase from IKEA. I desperately need a new bookcase, as the one we have is already stuffed with books - and other bits and bobs - and my book collection shows no sign of shrinking. I'm pretty sure I have some sort of book buying addiction! I'd put my nicest books on this bookcase, like my Letters Of Note books and a few special editions we have. I'd also put this lovely vase on there - as I imagine there would be a little bit of room on the shelf. 

Lastly, there's nothing cute and cosy like new cushions! I love the look of these three together, we already have some cushions with a similar shade pattern, so with any luck these will match rather than clash! Although, clashing is in now, so I could try and make that work. The dark grey cushion helps to tone down the orange and yellow, just a little bit, and would be an easier colour to buy matching accessorise in. Always thinking, me! 

What do you think of my living room update? Have I missed anything off? 

Chelsea xo

*collaboration with Share It Quick, but all words and living room planning my own* 

Monday, 9 November 2015

Should You Give Up On Your Dream?

There are times in life when you need to reassess you life. If you're not happy with something, you should strive to change it, right? I can't even remember the amount of articles I've read recently about mindfulness, or lowing stress levels, or changing your life around to ensure maximum happiness. But is it always that easy?

I completed my degree, walked straight into a three month internship, and then a week after that finished I bagged myself a one year internship working for a children's book publisher and toy company. It was the dream job, but the truth is that I was exhausted. I was working over 40 hours a week, commuting over 12 hours and spent hardly any quality time with Joe or Dylan, as I would be too tired after work or on my days off.

As you know, I've had a really tough time this year with family related issues, and in October I was given some more bad news. It felt like the bad news was never going to end and it made me step back and reassess my life. I like to think of myself as a dedicated, hard working person, but if I had to pick between work and my family, then my family wins hands down. It wasn't even a choice. So I quit. 

Of course, I had a back up plan in place. It would have been ridiculous and irresponsible of me to just quit and have nothing to fall back on. Although I'll be leaving the publishing world behind for now, I'm hoping that my new career path will allow me to go back to it in a few years time - and perhaps do a master's degree, too. But we'll see, right now all I care is that it's giving me something far more valuable - time with my family.

Any big life changes going on for you? 

Chelsea xo

Monday, 2 November 2015

101 in 1001 #10

Wow, lots of ones and zeros in that title! Sorry if it reads a bit like beginner's binary. I didn't really think I had achieved much since my last update, but I decided to type out my tenth(!) update on my 101 in 1001 list after reading through it with my work pal. I kept coming across things and saying, "oh, I've done that" so thought it was time to get them crossed off the list! 

See some Red Pandas!
I finally did it! After a whole lifetime of thinking Red Pandas are the best animal ever, I actually got to see them at Bristol Zoo. Joe kindly bought us tickets to the zoo for an early birthday present and I was ridiculously excited. We went on a Saturday, as Joe managed to have the day off, and we had a jolly good time! 

Do something special on our anniversaries
Three outta three on this one, yay to me and Joe! We went to see The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime and it was really good! Another great surprised organised by me, so Joe'll have to get his thinking cap on for our next anniversary.

Work on lowering my student overdraft
Okay, this one is deeeeefinitely still a work in progress but I've started sending myself a (small) lump sum every month into my account and I'm just not touching it. Once I've managed to save/not touch it for so long, I'll lower the overdraft. I'm trying to be sensible and lower it slowly, as knowing my luck if I pay it all off, I'll end up in some sort of money crisis and have nothing to fall back on. 

Bake something more impressive than cupcakes
I've decided to make a stand and cross this one off. I've baked a treacle tart, red velvet brownies, birthday cakes, Turkish delight and countless other things, but felt that they weren't 'impressive' enough. No more, my friends! A treacle tart and the like is bloody impressive, so off it goes!

Buy an American style fridge freezer (living the dream!)
This is the update you've all been waiting for, amiright? Joe bought us a new fridge as I began to slowly despise the other one, and it had certainly overstayed it's welcome. The door handle had snapped off, the freezer drawers were broken, it wobbled about and wouldn't open for 10 minutes if you'd closed it. Our new fridge isn't quite the american dream, but it has a water cooler thing, and that's good enough for me.

Go to a literature festival 
Despite going to university in Bath, I always seemed to miss out on the Literature festivals the city puts on. This year, I decided I wouldn't miss out, and promptly bought tickets to see Patrick Ness as soon as they were available. I bought tickets for Joe's little sisters as well, as they're big fans and we had a great time. I even asked Patrick (we're pals now) a question, and he thought it was an ace question. I presume. This leads nicely to my next item...

Go to a book signing
Yep, we waited and Patrick Ness signed our books! I was quite cheeky and asked him to sign my ticket as well, but he was more than happy to do so. What a great guy!

Organise a fancy dress party
Dylan turned four and as he spends the majority of his waking hours asking to wear a superhero costume, we decided to throw him a fancy dress birthday bash! He was proud as punch to be Batman, and attendees included two Spider-Men, Iron Man, a Transformer (the yellow one, I'm sure this helps!) and a superhero fairy! He had a great day, and Hulk-smashed an appropriate amount. 

That's a pretty good round up, if you ask me! Hopefully in my next update I might have actually lowered my student overdraft, ha!

Do you have a bucket list like this? Crossed off any goals recently?

Chelsea xo
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