Saturday, 29 March 2014

Happy List #100

Wow 100 Happy Lists, I can't quite believe it. When I started this little feature in 2011 I had no idea that I would still be writing this blog let alone get to the 100th Happy List three years on. The Happy List has gone through many changes and different looks over the past three years but it's always stuck around in some way or another. It started as a weekly feature but it got too difficult to keep that up so now it's just more of an as and when kinda thing. I like that it's a place to look back on the simple happy things from the past few weeks and I always feel like it's a place where I can just chat and catch up with you all! 

For the 100th Happy List I wanted to do something a little different to mark the milestone. So for this one I've decided to make a list of some of the simple things that make happy (I've tried to keep it short so it isn't a huge post). I've also made a little list of my favourite past Happy Lists. I'd love for you to get involved too so please let me know what makes you really happy!

It's the simple things...
  1. TV series marathons
  2. Cinema dates
  3. Spending time with Josh
  4. Walks in the sunshine
  5. Spending time in York or Liverpool
  6. Cuddles with Josh's cats
  7. Baking
  8. Silly late night conversations with Josh
  9. Reading really good books
  10. Spending far too long on Pinterest

Favourite past Happy Lists...
Happy List #1 Where it all began
Happy List #27 For the memories of uni friends and going out in Birmingham
 Happy List #29 For the cocktail memories and the laughs me and Josh had that night
Happy List #31 For the Halloween memories and not giving a crap that I'd just dyed the entire bathroom bright red
Happy List #71 For the 2012 summer memories
Happy List #81 For the final Christmas living in Coventry memories
Happy List #92 For the happy final memories of Coventry and the Wales memories


Thursday, 27 March 2014

An Unexpected Day Off

Yesterday I had a bit of an unexpected day off, always a reason to be happy! Josh and I took it as an opportunity to spend a little extra time together and whilst much of the afternoon was spent watching blu-rays and napping we decided to pop out for a cold but pleasant walk around a local reservoir in the morning and feed the ducks. Simple days like these are always my favourite.


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Book Review: Have a Little Faith

Have a Little Faith has been squirrelled away in my book collection for quite some time, I've just never wanted to read it to be honest. One because it's by the same writer of my favourite ever book Tuesdays with Morrie and secondly because it's predominantly about religion and as an atheist I just couldn't really get on board with it. In some ways I'm glad I bit the bullet and read it but in some ways I wish I hadn't.

This is a book about a remarkable eight-year journey into what it means to live with hope in your heart.

It begins with an unusual request: Mitch Albom is asked by his ailing 82-year-old former mentor to deliver his eulogy upon his death. Feeling unworthy, Mitch insists on getting to understand the man better. And at the same time, he is getting to know a local pastor - a man with a deeply tragic past who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church, but who remains full of hope and happiness.

Just like Tuesdays with Morrie, Have a Little Faith is a non-fiction book which although dealing with death has a positive and uplifting outlook. Unfortunately though I found this book to be too much like Tuesdays with Morrie for my liking. Old, dying mentor. Check. Feelings of needing to learn more about that person before it's too late. Check. Mitch Albom wishing he'd not lost contact with his mentor. Check. Life lessons for Mitch to learn. Check. I could go on!

For me it felt kind of like Mitch Albom had latched onto a good thing with Tuesday with Morrie and basically decided to do the whole thing again just with religion. This annoyed me because I have so much love for Tuesdays with Morrie and I feel that everyone could learn something from it but replicating it has cheapened it slightly for me.

Given I'm atheist I probably found the books messages a little harder to get on board with because I don't believe in any of it, know obviously I knew what it was going to be about before I read it and I do quite like the idea of the two different faiths in the book having kind and positive things in common it's just that I don't believe in the religious teachings.

Basically Have a Little Faith is the religious mans Tuesdays with Morrie. It's not to say others won't enjoy it but I disliked that it so closely replicated another book.

Rating:  ★★☆☆


Friday, 21 March 2014

Book Review: The Book of Lost Things

The Book of Lost Things has been on my bookshelf for years and for some reason when I was picking a new book to read this one really jumped out at me.

 High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the loss of his mother. He is angry and he is alone, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness, and as he takes refuge in the myths and fairytales so beloved of his dead mother he finds that the real world and the fantasy world have begun to meld. The Crooked Man has come, with his mocking smile and his enigmatic words: 'Welcome, you majesty. All hail the new king.'

And as war rages across Europe, David is violently propelled into a land that is both a construct of his imagination yet frighteningly real, a strange reflection of his own world composed of myths and stories, populated by wolves and worse-than-wolves, and ruled over by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious, legendary book...

When David’s mother dies he struggles to accept that he failed to save her, despite the fact there was nothing he could have done. In time his father marries again and has another child, but David spirals further into loneliness and refuses to have anything to do with his stepmother Rose, or his half-brother Georgie. He locks himself away in a world of books… but suddenly, the books become more real – they begin to whisper to David.

One night David finds himself in a sunken garden, away from the main garden of his house. Here he enters a new world, where fairytales are real and more sinister than they appear in his books. David must find a way to get back home, while conquering his fears and the threats in the new world.
I really liked the concept of this book, the twist on fairytales and how they’re used to create a whole new world in which everything isn’t happily ever after. Ultimately the book is about growing up and facing loss, and the final chapter in particular was one that really stuck out for me in terms of dealing with these themes. David’s transition from childhood to adulthood and all that brings with it is only briefly explored, yet it really resonates and was actually my favourite part. For me this chapter saved the book, as for the most part I struggled with it and found it to be just average – but the last chapter really sums up loss in all its forms, and is a touching ending.

The rest of the book felt somewhat weak to me. I struggled to get into it, and although I could see what Connolly was trying to do with David’s journey, his self discovery and awareness of the world, there was something missing. It felt like it just fell short of the mark. The Book of Lost Things could have been an amazing novel, and had the whole book been as strong as the final chapter it would have been great – I wasn’t bored by the story, but it didn’t pack the punch that the final chapter did.

Rating:  ★★★☆☆


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Josh's 25th Birthday Celebrations

Last Sunday Josh celebrated being a quarter of a century old! All round it was a pretty nice day full of homemade cake, lots of food and presents. The sun was shining too so we even managed to pop out for a little wander. At night we went out and stuffed our faces with Indian food before snuggling down in our pj's. 

I hope you had a lovely day Josh!

Presents, cake and cards / Blowing out candles / Opened presents (yes there is a magic set in that photo, it was a joke!) / A sunny walk


Friday, 14 March 2014

A late afternoon walk

I came home from work on Wednesday and the weather was lovely it seemed such a shame to sit inside and not enjoy it so Josh and I decided to go out for a walk. I've settled into the routine of coming home after work and not really doing anything apart from get into my pyjama's as quickly as possible. Sometimes that's nice but it was really refreshing to go out and enjoy the sunshine and enjoy being outside. It's easy to settle into a routine and forget how nice some places are around here!


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

A Pastel Wishlist

I currently in the midst of a full on love affair with pastels, I want a wardrobe full of sugary ice-cream shades of blue, pink and green. With this new love I have been hunting down the perfect pastel clothing items and I have to say I could pretty much buy all of New Look's offerings right now! For the purposes of this wishlist though I have narrowed down my choices...

  1. Blue chunky slip on shoes
  2. Pink woven boyfriend coat
  3. Mint green cut out back jumper
  4. Pink daisy print top
  5. Mint green trainers
  6. Blue collar dress
I've been wanting the coat for quite a while I just can't bring myself to order it though, someone encourage me to! I can't decide which pair of shoes I like best, I think I'm edging towards the mint green Converse-esque ones though so I may have to get these for summer. I'm always loving the cut out back jumper so this is another serious consideration. 

P.S It's actually Bits and Bobs third birthday tomorrow, I can't quite believe I've being writing on here for three years now! Thankyou to everyone of you that takes the time to read and comment on here, you make it even more enjoyable.


Monday, 10 March 2014

Book Review: The Lovely Bones

Always late to the party with books that become popular after a film is made about them! Anyway I've never actually seen the film either which I think is better when it comes to books, always better to read the book first before watching the film!

My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighbourhood.

Watching from her place in heaven, Susie Salmon sees her suburban family devastated by her death, isolated even from one another as they each try to cope with their terrible loss alone. Over the years, her and siblings grow up, fall in love, do all the things she never had the chance to do herself. But life is not quite finished with Susie yet... 

I don't really know where to begin with The Lovely Bones, given that Susie is murdered quite near the start of the book pretty much the whole thing is written from her point of view when she is dead and looking down at her family and friends. I found the concept of heaven in the book a very interesting one, I am in no way a religious person but the idea of everyone having their own version of heaven was a very nice idea that was explored without touching on religion. 

Susie's family and friends are explored in depth when Susie dies and the reader is taken on an emotional journey with them as they attempt to deal with their loss and drift apart all while Susie witnesses this from heaven. She sees her sister and brother grow up, fall in love and do all the things she never got the chance to do, the sense the Susie will always be stuck as a fourteen-year-old that has missed out of things is reiterated throughout the book.

Susie also follows her murderer from heaven and meets other girls and women he has murdered in heaven. It's frustrating knowing that some members of Susie's family know, or at least suspect who the murderer is. I found myself willing someone to catch him!

Given the dark subject matter of the novel, The Lovely Bones is actually a beautifully written and at times uplifting book. The ending was a particular favourite part of mine when the life not being finished with Susie part is revealed and I have to say it was quite a touching moment.  

In all it's hard to back into a review the lovely nature of the book, all I can say is if you haven't read it yet you really should! 

Rating:  ★★★★★

Saturday, 8 March 2014

8 random questions answered by us!

A few weeks ago I saw that Becca had answered a random set of questions that are actually part of a blog award, I quite liked that idea of Josh and I answering them in a kind of random get to know us way so we both had a go at them. Feel free to answer these questions too and leave us a link to your post in the comments!
1. What is your favourite thing to do on a weekend? 
L: Probably a nice walk during the day then a takeaway and a TV series boxset or a film. Neither Josh or I really like to go out as neither of us really drinks. If we do go out it's for a nice meal somewhere, preferably an Indian restaurant. 
J: Who doesn't love to just chillax on a weekend? Maybe watch some TV or a film or something, go for a walk if the weathers nice, round it off with a nice takeaway!

2.What would your last meal be?  
L: Ooo that's tough as there are so many different meals I like! Either spaghetti carbonara or a good Indian meal.
J: Chilli probably. Well nice. Though I like quite a few meals so I'd probably order all of them as separate courses and spread them out over a longish period of time. If I was on death row this would give me more alive time too. Though I'd be full as fudge when I'd finished everything. 

3. If you could try one job out for the day, what would you do?  
L: A vet, I've always wanted to be a vet but it just never happened. I'd love to see what it could've been like though if I really enjoyed I'd be sad I couldn't do it as a job.
J: I wouldn't want to try any because if I liked it I'd be even more annoyed that I couldn't do it full time. I'd know what I was missing! I'd love to be a professional musician, like a session musician or something, and doing it for one day would just make not doing it forever even worse. So I'll just say bin man because then at least once that day was over I wouldn't have to do it again.

4. If you could learn one skill and be super amazing at it, what would it be? 
L: Erm probably to be artistic I'd like to be able to draw and create things. That or play piano, Josh has attempted to teach me a few things but I'm no good and I have tiny hand so can't play all the keys that he can!
J: I don't know...I have all the skills I want to have so there's no others I really want. Is learning how to win the Lottery over and over again a skill? If it is I'd learn that. 

5. What would your super power be?  
L: Time travel. That is a super power isn't it?! Well even if it isn't I'd love to be able to time travel and visit loads of different era's.
J: Flying. Or invisibility. No, neither of those, I'd love to be able to stop time and just wonder around and stuff and do whatever I wanted, and then restart it when I wanted to. Like that old kids TV show Bernard's Watch. Though I guess that would make the days seem really long and would play havoc with my sleeping patterns. I like to be realistic with my super powers. 

6. If you could live in any city where would it be?  
L: In the UK I love to live in York or Liverpool. I haven't really gone to any cities out of the UK apart from Barcelona but I'd love to have a go at living in Paris.
J: I wouldn't want to live in any city really...too busy. York's a kind of quiet place. I'd rather live in Santa Monica in California or something though. Or in some laid back relaxed to the max town in the Florida Keys. That'd do me! 

7. What is your happiest moment? 
L: I don't think I have one single moment that has been my happiest I have a few that really stick out such as been abroad with Josh for the first time and walking on the beach at night, finding out I'd got a first for my final project at uni and seeing Paul McCartney live with him singing Wonderful Christmastime in December 2011.
J: The moment I get to sit down knowing I have a day of no distractions and nothing to do ahead of me so I can play, compose and record music. That one was easy! 

 8.What is your guilty food? - the one where you're too embarrassed to admit to anyone that that is really what you ate last night. 
L: I love food so I don't think there's anything I'd be too embarrassed to admit to actually! I suppose the worst things are supersize McDonalds or KFC's (where I have more than one thing) and eating a whole pizza to myself. 
J: I have no guilty foods. What's point of being embarrassed by a food?! Unless you're an uber prude and you get embarrassed because sausages look like penises.


Thursday, 6 March 2014

A small beauty haul

Earlier this week I posted a Primark haul, around the same time as I picked those things up I also picked up a couple of beauty bits and pieces so I thought I would share with you what I got. 

 Lush Tea Tree Water - £7.50
 No7 Melting Gel Cleanser - £9.50 (or £4.50 with a No7 voucher)
 Barry M Gelly in Blueberry and Barry M Matte in Vanilla - £3.99 each
L'oreal Miss Manga Mascara - £8.99

The gel cleanser is a repurchase, it's such a good cleanser so I bought another whilst I had a voucher. I bought the tea tree water to try out instead of Caudalie Beauty Elixir so I'm hoping it's just as good. I really like Barry M Gelly nail polishes so I couldn't resist picking up another and I thought I've give one of the matte ones a try too. I needed a new mascara and it looks as though my favourite Boots Seventeen Peep Show one has been discontinued so I thought I'd give this one ago and I'm really really impressed with it!


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

A small Primark haul

I've picked up a couple of things from Primark recently so I thought I'd share some pictures with you of what I've being buying.

Pink Peter Pan Collar Top - £8
Pastel Blue Quilted Top - £6
Grey Cardigan - £10
Leopard Print Pumps - £6

Candles - £2 each

I can't wait until it's a bit warmer so I can wear the shoes and I love my new pastel tops, I'm feeling quite spring like a little too early I think! Some Primark candles are actually quite good scent wise so fingers crossed these one's will be good too.


Sunday, 2 March 2014

Happy List #99 The February 2014 Edition

February was a weird month for me, in some ways I felt like it flew by but for the last few weeks of the month I was a day ahead all the time, much to my disappointment on a Thursday at work! I guess I really needed the half term though I'm not feeling going back to work tomorrow either!
My half term holiday has been spent learning phonics, shopping, blogging pigging out at Pizza Hut with my best friend and of course spending more time with Josh.

February was the month I really settled into my work routine only to find out I'm moving into a different class tomorrow anyway, I feel like I'm starting all over again but I think it's going to be good for me with lots of opportunities to learn loads of new stuff and get on some courses so I'm actually quite looking forwards to it. 

During February Josh and I finished off watching Breaking Bad for the second time, I swear it was even better watching it again! We have a post coming up soon about our favourite TV shows so look out for that.

March should be a pretty good month, Josh and I will be spending a bit more time together and it's his birthday so I can't wait to bake a cake and spoil him!

 February's posts: Valentines Day Bits and Pieces // The Loving Lately List #5 // A look in my jewellery box // My beauty urges tag // Thoughts on my new job // Living a more positive and happy life // Happy List #98 //What's in my work bag // Bits and Bobs Book Reviews: How I Live Now

Powering through Breaking Bad