Friday, 28 February 2014

Book Review: How I Live Now

How I Live Now was sent to me as part of a book swap and it was a novel I was previously unaware of, infact reading the blurb it's one I doubt I would have ever picked up and bought myself. It is a young adult novel which I don't mind at all as I quite like young adult books now and then and this one is just bloody brilliant!

Fifteen-year-old New Yorker Daisy thinks she knows all about love. Her mother died giving birth to her, and now her dad has sent her away for the summer, to live in the English countryside with cousins she's never even met.

There she'll discover what real love is: something violent, mysterious and wonderful. There her world will be turned upside down and perfect summer will explode into a million bewildering pieces. 

How will Daisy live then? 

Set in a modern Third World War, How I Live Now is the story of Daisy, an American teenager with more problems than your average person. She doesn’t get on with her father and stepmother, and out of this, psychological problems have developed – involving her eating habits in particular.
When she is sent away to England, Daisy moves in with her aunt and cousins she’s never met, and she soon begins to learn more about her mother and understand what it’s like to be surrounded by a loving family. However her relationship with her cousin Edmond confuses and excites Daisy, and they embark on an intimate relationship. When England becomes occupied by the enemy, the family is split up and Daisy must find a way to look after her young cousin Piper while trying to reunite with the other members of her family.

Told from Daisy’s point of view, the war remains very much in the background until near the end of the book – but despite the breezy nature of the writing and the Daisy’s dismissal of the facts, adult readers of the book can very easily imagine the scenes of death and destruction in the quiet countryside. I found the relationship between Edmond and Daisy an interesting one given that they are blood related; however the purity and intensity of the relationship allows you to look past this and see two people that are meant to be together. The end of the book was also very well-written, as Daisy slowly looks to rebuild her life and relationships with those that bear the physical and mental scars of war.

I found How I Live Now to be a very simple yet powerful portrayal of love, loss and healing. Although it can certainly be enjoyed by the Young Adult audience it’s aimed at, I think adults will also get a lot from it and perhaps read it a little differently.

Rating: ★★★★★

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

What's in my work bag

I had a quick look back over my posts and I don't think I've ever done a what's in my bag post. To be honest I prefer small bags and I don't carry all that much around with me. My work bag is a different matter though as not only does it have quite a few things in it but for me it's quite large too. So I've decided to do a what's in my work bag post. 

My big is a pink satchel from this Ebay seller, I'm really impressed with it. I originally bought a tan satchel from Primark and after only two weeks of use the strap snapped on both sides. My bag isn't even that heavy so I wasn't impressed. On my new bag the strap is fixed to metal loops rather than been stitched on which makes it much sturdier! I think it's perfect for winter and summer too which is what I wanted rather than getting two bags and there's plenty of room in it for all my stuff. The only thing I'm not a fan of is the inside as it's barbie pink but I'm not all that bothered because no one sees that anyway. 

Onto what is actually in my bag...

In the front pocket I keep two bobbles, two pens, MUA power pout in Rendezvous which is a really nice colour for during the day at work and super easy to apply, chewing gum and my lanyard with my signing in/identity card and my fob for getting in the door which gets thrown in my bag at the end of the day, it's facing down as the photo is awful plus it has my full name and place of work on it, internet safety and all that.

In the main compartment I keep, that weeks lesson plans and any other pieces of work, Filofax, gloves, umbrella, hand cream, hand gel, mini brush, paracetamol, ipod, keys and purse. 


Sunday, 23 February 2014

Happy List #98

I feel like I don't get to post any proper lifestyle posts on here now, work has taken over! I have to admit I do really miss it but I don't really do anything to blog about now I work all week then by the weekend I just want to relax and spend time with Josh. It's hard to get photo's too given that I can't be bothered and the lighting is rubbish by the time I get home and I don't have a fancy phone to get good, quick snaps of things for posts like this so I have to rely on the times I'm with Josh and get him to take photo's on his iphone. 

Since the last Happy List things have been going really well at work and I've found out I'll be moving classes after the half term holiday (speaking of which I broke up on Friday and I sooo need this week off!) to the EYFS class which is basically a mixed class of reception and year 1 kids. It's a bit of a jump from a year 4 and 5 mixed class but I'm looking forwards to it, I reckon it'll be good for me in there and I'll learn lots of stuff and hopefully get some good training opportunities too. I've spent a couple of days in there already this week to get a feel for things and I think I'm going to like it. 

Josh and I ditched our usual Saturday night routine of a takeaway and a TV series marathon and went out to see a Beatles tribute band, it was a pretty good night though the band was a little rough around the edges. We shouldn't judge though as we're used to seeing the Bootleg Beatles which are a really huge and successful tribute band.

Then last Friday, Valentine's Day Josh did a really nice night for me which was just what I needed as I'd had quite a rough week at work. We enjoyed a nice meal, a bottle of wine, chocolates and a Grammy's tribute to the Beatles. I'm not a big fan of people covering Beatles songs but Ed Sheeran, Imagine Dragons and Dave Grohl were all pretty good. A pretty perfect Valentines night!

Valentines presents - I've wanted an Abbey Road cushion for sooo long so I'm happy Josh bought me one, the Star Wars book was a present for Josh because he's a geek! 
A card from Josh's cats really did happen and yes it made me happy / The Pretend Beatles


Friday, 21 February 2014

Living a more postive and happy life

Confession time: I am a natural born pessimist, worrier and stresser. I've always been this way and the older I've got the worse it's got. Obviously as an adult there is more to worry and stress about but I mean the slightest thing sets me off. I wasn't sure how much to share on here but I figured I'd just type and see what came out! Generally I like to keep Bits and Bobs a happy place and fill it with lots of positive things like the Happy List and Thankful Thursday but I like to blog honestly too.

When I moved back home last July I gradually noticed that I got a lot worse, I didn't want to be back at home, I hated living back with my parents and not with Josh, been unemployed was getting me down and my pure hatred for the job centre made my life miserable. All this meant that not only did I worry and stress even more but I felt anxious and panicky as well, my heart would beat faster everytime I had to go to the job centre and I would leave feeling like a just wanted to cry. I'd lay awake at night getting myself upset over not living with Josh anymore, not having a job and been made to apply for dead end rubbish jobs by the job centre. Small things would upset me and it got to the point where I would cry on an almost daily basis. I barely slept and when I did I was averaging around 5 hours sometimes less, the more time I spent awake the more I worried and panicked about stuff.

I knew I had to do something when I spent Christmas feeling down and upset and then had a panic attack one night when all the worrying and stressful thoughts got too much. I never want to feel like I did on that night again.

Starting my job in January had a massive impact on my life in more ways then I could have imagined. I feel much happier and I really enjoy what I do. I actually look forwards to going to work. When you finally click with kids and they want to spend time with you it's a great feeling, kids are brutally honest so to know they like you and want to be be with you is just great!

Overall I am feeling much happier than I did in the latter half of 2013, there are still some things I would like to change but I now know that in time these things will happen and everything will be OK. I've found myself over recent weeks looking at things more positively and it's making me much happier.

Of course I couldn't ignore Pinterest in my positivity quest and went ahead and made a board for happy and positive quotes. I've made a little collage of a few below but I think in order to keep myself on track (and maybe inspire others, who knows) with this whole positive living thing I may do some posts in future dedicated to any nice quotes I come across and have a little chat about them.

Here's to living a more positive and happy life.


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Thoughts on my new job

On 13th January 2014 at around 8.30am I became the 'new girl'. The night before I'd packed my bag and picked out my outfit, that morning I'd made up my packed lunch and walked to work. I was a bag of nerves. 

That was 6 weeks ago and while I still feel like the new girl I also feel like I've settled into my job and I'm throughly enjoying it way more than I could have ever wished for. For those who don't know I'm a teaching assistant in a primary school. I get on well with the teacher and the other teaching assistant in my class and most of the kids are great!

Of course it hasn't been all plain sailing I had and still do have a lot to prove and there's been a few times where it's felt like the longest day ever and I've just wanted to come home, vent a little and then forget it all but thankfully these kind of days are very rare.

The real happy moment came half way through my fourth week, the girls who'd been testing me for weeks finally decided I was good enough to pass and have become a lot more warming and positive toward me, infact it's hard to get rid of them now they want to be my friend! I also have a little chum in a different class who has to be the cutest, sweetest child ever and he spends break times linking arms with me and hugs me when he has to go. I swear my heart melts at the cuteness every time! 

After the half term holiday things are changing around and I'll be moving into the foundation class and working with the youngest kids in school. I'm excited to experience that and I'm glad I get to try out a different class. 

I don't know what will happen with this job as it's only a temporary contract and I don't know what will happen with my career choices all I do know is that I'm really happy right now, the happiest I've been since I had to move home from uni last summer so I'm just going to embrace that and see where things go.


Thursday, 13 February 2014

BEAUTY: My beauty urges tag

A few weeks a go I read Lily's beauty urges tag post. It's not a tag with questions just more a chat about the beauty things I'd like to do but will probably never have the courage to do!

Pink hair!
Blondie: When I was younger I dyed my hair lots of different colours. Then I left it alone for years before experimenting with temporary pink dip dye last year. Naturally my hair is a golden blondey/brown shade that I actually quite like but every new and then part of me wants to go really blonde like a white peroxide blonde. I don't think I could cope with the damage and the upkeep though!

Piercings: Are piercings beauty?! Well they are now! I have my ears pierced once on both sides then I have a second piercing on the left side. I was young and decided just having one side done would be cool. Now I really want it evening up so I want the right side piercing again. This I think I'm definitely going to get done, I'm not that much of a wuss. However the piercing I really want but know I will never get is my tragus, I love how it looks but I could never have it done.

Eyes that 'pop': OK so this one is a bit of a funny one as I have actually had this done before and it's not even a big thing but I'd love to get my eyelashes tinted regularly. I had it done a couple of years ago and I have to say I was not expecting the stinging sensation that came with it despite the fact I had been told about it! It's kinda put me off even though I loved how it looked, I don't wear makeup everyday but I will admit that sometimes, with wearing glasses, my eyes could do with a bit of something to make them stand out more and the eyelash tint did just that!


Tuesday, 11 February 2014

STYLE: A look in my jewellery box

Quite a while ago now I decided to buy myself a nice jewellery box for all my good pieces of jewellery. I'm not really one for costume jewellery as I have a few nice pieces that I wear everyday and that are special to me so I don't like to take them off. If I do swap my jewellery around for a special occasion I take something out of my modest collection of nice jewellery. 

To be honest I didn't wear any jewellery aside from earrings until I met Josh but over the years he has very kindly bought me some lovely pieces, infact I think everything in my jewellery box is from Josh! I have a ring and a necklace from Josh that I wear every day then I have a Nomination bracelet that Josh's parents bought me for my 21st that I'm slowly filling with charms that I've either bought myself or been bought as gifts. And finally I have a rose quartz bracelet that Josh bought me on my 22nd birthday after we saw it in a shop.

Now for a little peak into my jewellery box...

It has a top try which is removable, in here I keep my DKNY watch which is the first Christmas present from Josh, spare Nomination links, Vivianne Westwood brooch (as it needs repairing), a heart pendant that I sometimes swap with the one I'm wearing, a ring that Josh bought me when we first got together (it's a little thin and mishapen now so I don't really wear it), a bracelet and 3 pairs of earrings from a shop in York called Avatar. In the bottom try I keep a CheChe cupcake watch and a pink necklace.

Even though it isn't kept in my jewellery box I thought I would include photo's of the jewellery I wear every day too seen as I mentioned some things earlier.


Thursday, 6 February 2014

The Loving Lately List #5

I didn't realise it had been sooo long since I last did one of these posts but I am back now with another roundup of internet lovelies, also known as 'The Loving Lately List'.

Josh found this on Facebook and tagged me in the comments, it was a on day when lots of things had gone wrong, I'd spilt expensive face oil all over my carpet, knocked a savings jar off my shelf on the way to work and money had scattered all over and I'd walked home in sleet with shoes on that leak. It just made me smile and indeed all I needed that day was a cookie!

It seems that some of my most loved blog posts of late are food based. Make of that what you will but the bacon and egg breakfast baskets and the beef and onion cobbler from Nouvelle Daily look pretty yummy to me.

Becca summed up something I want to achieve this year very nicely in this blog post about enjoying the little things in life. I've always been a believer in this but this year I really want to focus on feeling happier and more positive.

Olivia looks simply stunning in this blog post (actually make that every blog post!) but these photo's are just amazing, I also really want the shoes she's wearing!

Oh look another food related post this time from Rosie. This orange curd looks and sounds incredibly delectable and it's something I plan on having a go at making at some point.

Bee's book reviews are always so well written and whenever I see she's posted a new one I get a little bit excited. However I always come away from her posts having added to my book wishlist!

As I've already mentioned I really want to work on positivity and happiness this year so to set me in the right frame of mind I've made a pinterest board dedicated to quotes about happiness and positivity. Who doesn't love a good pinterest quote!


Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Valentines Day Bits and Pieces

I personally quite enjoy valentines day, I know some people get a little grumpy and moany about it but I don't see anything wrong with it! Showing someone you love them shouldn't be kept to one day or be about expensive presents a little extra love every now and then is all good.

With this in mind I've been looking around for some valentines goodies and here's what I found...

1. Rosie for Autograph bra - this comes with matching high waisted or Brazilian pants and looks so pretty and classy. Just because it's valentines day no one wants trashy undies!
2. Pink and white love heart shirt - I think this is really cute and I'd quite like to own this!
3. Good morning gorgeous travel mug - practical and cute. Anything to make mornings a little cheerier!
4. Valentina by Valentino perfume - I'm not sure what this actually smells like but I do like Valentino perfumes and how cute is the bottle?!
5. Love Locket bath bomb - good old Lush providing some pretty bath bombs. This one is quite expensive for a bath bomb but the pictures of it look good!
6. Prince Charming shower gel - again Lush has come to the rescue and provided Prince Charming just in time for valentines day. OK not a real one but this shower gel sounds lovely!


Sunday, 2 February 2014

Happy List #97 The January 2014 Edition

I suppose the big news from the past few weeks is that I've started my new job, I am a teaching assistant in a primary school. I actually missed the first week of a term as I had a holiday that had been booked a year! But tomorrow I will be stepping into my fourth week at the school and I can safely say I'm loving it! I know how lucky I am to have a job I actually enjoy and don't mind getting up for in a morning (it makes things so much easier!) I don't know where this job will take me and I'm actually quite happy to not know at the moment I'm happy just settling in and learning new things. Oh and the kids I'm with a great, a real interesting bunch of characters!

Given that I'm still finding my feet with my new routine I don't have much else to report at the moment. My weekdays I spent in school, then getting used to the tiredness that comes when I get home then my weekends are spent with Josh, indulging in breakfast in bed and copious amounts of Breaking Bad. This is all OK with me though for the time being. I feel very happy and content.

I'm afraid in the whirlwind that was January I have completely failed to take photo's for the Happy List. I also failed to do any Happy Lists other than my New Year one. It turns out I haven't got this whole working full time, spending time with Josh and finding time to do blog stuff thing figured out just yet. I'm hoping in time it will all work itself out and I'll have time to do a few things I'd like to do.

I'll leave you with a rundown of posts from January you may like to take a look at if you missed them the first time around and a picture of Lexi cat because her little pea head makes me smile.

January's posts: Favourite products of 2013 // Happy List: The New Year Edition // Favourite books of 2013// A few changes for Bits and Bobs in 2014 // Bits and Bobs Book Reviews: The Night Watch // Center Parcs Holiday Part 1 // Center Parcs Holiday Part 2 // Lauren's Lists: Your Greatest Comforts // The Pet Tag: Meet Ziggy // Tuesday Treats #35 // The Pet Tag: Meet Lexi // Bits and Bobs Book Reviews: One Day // Lauren's Lists: Your Favourite Albums