Saturday, 31 March 2012

Friday (non-)Fiction 11/52

Another FF on a Saturday, oops! I was just too excited all the sunshine and the fact that it's the Easter holidays, hooray :) No school for two whole weeks. (It's also not even fiction but shhh)

Having said that, I have been super excited to review this book, so I don't know why it escaped me this week.

Just Kids by Patti Smith is an absolute smash-hit of a book. A memoirs of sorts, superficially detailing the love affair, artistic growth, development and maturity of punk icon Patti Smith and her photographer beau  Robert Mapplethorpe, but that barely covers it. In short, it's a poetic masterpiece. Flawlessly written and absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and sad.

I'm not sure why it's taken me so long to read this book, because I was a huge fan of Patti Smith before (she is majestic, no question), but I had no idea she was such a composite artistic entity, or that she never even dreamed of being the rock star she later became, but began so humbly as an underground poet. Her writing style really reflects her origins as it is truly beautifully written prose. I also knew she and Mapplethorpe were lovers and friends, but the extent of their relationship, love and devotion floored me. The story of their formative years and blossoming relationship is haunting and spectacular.

If you can't tell, I REALLY LOVED IT. I could not recommend it enough. 10/10

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Baby, We'll Be Fine...

...All we've got to do is, be brave and be kind.

Scarf tied as hair bow: thrifted, T-shirt: Belle and Sebastian concert, £20, Belt: Primark, £1.50, Culottes: vintage via eBay, Shoes: UO, £6 

Eee, my first tight-less outfit post - it must be spring! This was worn to take a late afternoon walk in the sunshine to hang out with friends. Hubby thought I looked very 50s rockabilly in this outfit, which was an unintentional, but kind of awesome perk. My hair really doesn't look very different at all in these pictures, apart from the fringe, but it's infinitely lighter and delightful for it - so much easier to brush! 

More pictures to come but can you notice anything else different?

Monday, 26 March 2012

Reminiscing... (the wedding dress)

Yesterday I found out that as well as both calling Leeds 'home' (despite being originally southerners), and obviously our fabulous sense of style, fellow fashion blogger Chloe and I have another tiny thing in common. We both picked the exact same wedding dress for our big days! How crazy is that? I mean, not that I'm biased or anything, but it was a pretty great dress, so I can see why she picked it too, but what are the chances?? Anyway, this coinkydink got me thinking about said wonderful dress - which I'm hoping to wear again for a little photo shoot with my gal pal & photographer extraordinaire Hannah (who took all these excellent shots) v. soon - and the rather enjoyable day I wore it on...

-Cue me trawling through my wedding photos for hours-

Even though we're pretty twee and kinda cutesy, and Hubby & I would've looked mighty dapper in a skinny suit and a 50s short dress, we went a fairly traditional route with our wedding - which we both still agree was the right thing for us to do, but since we're only young, it was still a pretty good party, and maybe I did have one too many glasses of champagne and have to kick my shoes off I was dancing too hard (we literally had to request some rubbish music from the DJ so I could have a breather!) - but if you can't enjoy your wedding day then what can you do? It was brilliant, and not only because I got to call myself Mrs. B at the end of it.

There are so many details and moments that I could share, but where to start?! Well with the dress of course.

The dress that I (and Chloe!) wore was actually the very first wedding dress I tried on, I had a very clear image of what I didn't want, so when I went to the National Wedding Show where there are thousands of dresses, I could discount all the lacey, frilly, princessy ones at a glance. It was an Eternity Bridal dress in Oyster satin which stole my heart. Simple but not boring, classic but modern with just the right amount of detailing. I just had a zip back because although I like the way lace-ups look, I'm a practical girl and I knew I would want to take scissors to it by the end of the night! It came with a belt with a diamante applique too, which when I first saw it, I thought looked tacky and horrible - the embellished nightmare dresses I'd been trying to avoid sprung to mind, and like it would ruin the ruching but somehow, on, it looked perfect.

(this is my, I-am-really-excited-to-get-married,-but-I-am-also-trying-really-hard-not-to-fall-down-the-stairs-with-everyone-watching-and-rip-my-dress awkward face - we've all been there, right?)

I wore an ivory pearled veil borrowed from a friend, who'd gotten married the month before, dip-dyed in tea to make it match my dress, just for the ceremony and a few pictures, and a bespoke cloth flower clipped into my hair made by Belle & The Bean. You can actually still buy my silver & pearl jewellery at Azendi.

My ivory wedding shoes were from BHS and only cost about £12 in the sale! I'd eyed fancy Rainbow Club shoes and all manner of other shoes, and considered the hot pink stillettos vs. the Westwood Melissa heels debate, but I couldn't justify spending £100+ on shoes I'd probably never wear again (the same argument can go for the dress, but I think I did pretty well to spend less than £500 on that so I cut my losses there). I also considered dying them to match the dress, but in the end, couldn't really be bothered! That sounds awful, I know, but they still matched and looked great, at least until my Dad stood on my foot on the way in - making the first sighting Hubby got of me as a blushing bride being me punching my Dad in the arm.

I think I looked pretty awesome, even if I do say so myself. When I had my dress altered, I had a tie added to the underside, so I could turn the big train into a bustle for the dance party afterwards, but when the time came, not I, nor any of my friends or relatives could figure out how that actually worked (fail!), so I spent the rest of the evening with a fistful of dress in one hand, and a drink in the other. 


P.S. See the Mr & Mrs section for more of the mushy love stuff, or search the 'wedding' tagged posts for more photos.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Friday Fiction 10/52

So I'm still being a terrible blogger, apologies. Might have something a little bit exciting to blog about tomorrow, so bear with me on that one...

This week's Friday Fiction is for The Book of Tomorrow by Cecelia Ahern, a book SO BAD I didn't feel it warranted a real review, so I just took some humorous pictures to give you my general impression of it.

I toyed with the idea of not even giving it a face review, it was that bad.

I read this whilst I was sick the other week, and wanted something light and fluffy, having previously enjoyed Cecelia Ahern's other books, but my god this was just... IT DOESN'T EVEN MAKE ANY SENSE. Excuse the hyperbole, but shheesh, worst book ever? I got The Gift by her out of the library too, but I'm not sure I can bring myself to read it after this. Is it worth it or should I cut my losses?

P.S. I took these pictures before I got a pretty new haircut. It does kind of look exactly the same, I know, but I swear, they cut so much off. More pictures to follow.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Little things

I've been having a rough few days, so excuse the lack of regular blogging, but in the name of positivity and practicing gratitude, I thought I'd share just a few of the little things that have been helping me keep my head above water.

~Tickets to see The Wave Pictures staring back at me every time I look in the mirror (it's tonight and I can't wait)
~The National. Everything about the National. But specifically their lyrics. And specifically this song. "Baby, we'll be fine. All we've got to do is be brave and be kind."
~Dreaming about things I want to do. And believing that I might actually be brave enough to do them.
~Making plans to see my nephew
~Alternating between super healthy homemade smoothies for breakfast, and multiple packets of crisps for lunch
~The knowledge (hope) that my life starts tomorrow.
~Pretending that the budget isn't happening today. I used to love politics but since the Conservatives were voted in, I can't bear to follow it anymore.
~The F1 season starting again & getting up at 6am to listen to the race on the radio (we don't have Sky sadly)
~Making lists
~Coming up with the perfect baby names

So whilst I'm feeling particularly crumbly around the edges at the moment, it's always good to remind myself that there are bright spots in even the darkest clouds, and that this too shall pass.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Friday Fiction 9/52

I thought just posting the cover of the book I was reviewing was boring, so if you can't be bothered to read the entire review, you can now see my summary of the book in ONE FACIAL EXPRESSION. Lame? Maybe. Awesome? Definitely. A bit like that one word movie review tumblr? Except with my face.

So this week Friday Fiction is...

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Slightly confusingly, this book starts out as a love story between a man and his wife, happily toddles along for a bit, and then turns into a completely different love story, if you can call it that. Basically one guy just mopes about for his ENTIRE LIFE, before the rubbishy woman he's been pining over finally gives up and loves him back, but not before he prepositions her on the day her husband dies, and not before he has sex with EVERYONE else ever. What a classy guy.

Neither of them are very likable - they're both self absorbed flakes who don't really know what they want from life, and nothing much really happens either, apart from ALL THE SEX, so I'm not sure when this one turned in to such a 'classic'. Excuse the capitals, but the story kind of sucked. The writing on the other hand was pretty awesome, so I haven't written Marquez off just yet - I've read that '...Solitude' is better? I read it really quickly, but only because I'd had it out for about a year and the library kind of frowns on that and wanted it back, I didn't really care how it ended. It was quite a mixed bag really, but a bit of a yawn-fest.


Did I miss the great love story or did you think they were a pair of whiners who deserved each other too? Is '...Solitude' any better? Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Birthday Girl

Today is my birthday! 23 grand old years, eep. 


Dress: vintage, £gift, Belt & Tights: Primark, £1(ish), Shoes: New Look, £5, Snazzy Badge: Gift, £Priceless 

Hubby bought me this awesome dress, and this even awesome-r badge, which totally has flashing lights when you press a button on the back, and yeah, I totally went to work dressed like this. I had a few 'How old are you?' questions from the kids, which fortunately is not quite rude just yet, although their guesses ranged from 16 to 45! Cheeky.

I plan to celebrate by spending the rest of the afternoon in bed with a trashy novel eating dry toast (I've not been feeling very well, again), and having my Mum and brother over for a Pizza tea - we've postponed the fancy birthday dinner out until the weekend since Mum's poorly too. But that's ok, since I'm feeling very loved with presents, cards, texts, phone calls and Facebook messages. My job may be rubbish some times, but it did make me giggle when a gaggle of school girls broke into a rousing chorus of 'Happy Birthday To You' in the middle of their lunch :D Some days life's just not so bad.

Monday, 12 March 2012

The perfect weekend (outfit)

Dress: Primark, £old, Necklace: gift, Blazer: thrifted, £2.50, Tights: Primark, 50p, Shoes: UO, £6

This is about as casual as I get. An outfit for the perfect weekend day - walking in to town in the beautiful Spring sunshine to hit up the local library, charity shops and farmers market (that over sells it a little, it's one tiny stall), and came back laden with books, a pretty new handbag, presents for loved ones and something pretty for the flower vase. I may never buy flowers again. The afternoon was spent tidying up our house and relaxing, watching Grey's Anatomy and drinking copious amounts of tea. Perfection.

How did you enjoy the beautiful weather?

P.S. I hadn't worn this dress in about 3 years before Saturday, but I'm trying to utilise my entire wardrobe and justify why I hadn't thrown it out. "I'll wear it one day I swear"...

P.P.S Isn't it nice to be able to take outfit photos outside again fashion bloggers?

Friday, 9 March 2012

Friday Fiction 8/52

So this was actually last week's Friday Fiction, but maybe if you're lucky (or unlucky, I don't know), I might manage two book reviews this week. I wouldn't count on it though. I'm a busy lady!

Reviewed: Player One by Douglas Coupland

Life inside the microcosm of an airport cocktail lounge is turned upside down when peak oil prices are reached, and things become apocalyptic pretty quickly (it's Coupland guys). The story is told in 'real time', with each of the 5 chapters representing an hour during the crisis. The mixed bag of characters who survive inside the bar are forced together by this experience and bond, argue and have sex. It's not really about anything, except their interactions and how they deal with the impending end-of-the-world, so it's kind of hard to summarise.

As a result, I thought the story was kind of weak (well, non-existent), even though none of his books are really about anything, and it retrod some of the footsteps of Girlfriend In A Coma, but I did enjoy the characters and their development. It's classic Coupland, so if you've read him you'll know if that's your cup of tea or not. His writing style is very distinctive and I do think it's brilliant. Personally, I love his books but I know he can be a little hit and miss, and for me, this one didn't match up to The Gum Thief or jPod. It was probably on a par with GIAC... It wasn't bad, it just not my favourite, or what I think he's capable of in terms of storytelling.

I've still to read Generation X and A, Miss Wyoming and All Families Are Psychotic but other than that, I think I've managed to race through his backcatalogue pretty quickly. He really is a delight to read, it's just a shame the story didn't match up the the quality of his writing.


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Feeling Grateful

So I was aiming to write this blog post for the end of February, to talk about the things I've been especially grateful for this month, but I felt so flipping miserable and under the weather, I actually felt grateful for very little at that point in time, so I decided to give it a miss until I was feeling better again, which thankfully, is right about now. I seem to be poorly all the time and it drives me up the wall that my body is so useless at fighting things, but ho hum, such is life.

Practicing gratitude might seem like quite a small or trivial thing, but I think it's a wonderful habit to get in to, and I'm trying my hardest to do it as much as possible. It's so easy to have a bad day, or a bad week/month/year, and feel like the world is against you and like you have nothing, which in all honest, is probably never ever true. Even if you are poor and sick and feel like you're all alone, I doubt you actually are. You might have family, a dearly beloved like my Hubby, or just some really great friends. I'm not ashamed to say my cats are like my friends/children, so they definitely count to. They don't talk back, but they sure are excellent listeners. The point is, we all have someone, and we should remember that and never not ever take them for granted (like I do all the time).

So as well as my obvious shout-out to the love of my life, the frankly marvelous Mr B, who has been a even more of a delight this month than normal, some of the other things I am currently grateful for are:
  • Hubby being rewarded for all his effort at work with a pay rise, and me getting some extra work at job 2, both of which have made it possible for us to become...
  • Debt free! Well, sort of. We have officially paid off our credit card (for the second time), but this time I swear it's for good. It's such a relief to not have to worry about it anymore, or be paying needless interest. Once we clear our overdrafts next payday, we can finally start saving up for some proper furniture (only a year and a half after we moved into our house...)
  • Sending letters and postcards to friends & family, and receiving them in return - I love getting post so much - seriously, if you want to be penpals, I would love that, send me a email or leave me a comment and we can sort something out, where ever in the world you are, because hand written letters are the best.
  • Getting away for a week during the half term (time off from work is in it's self, something to be grateful for) to a lovely cottage in the Yorkshire Dales with my family, and getting to spend so much time with my gorgeous nephew and witness pretty sunsets like the one above.
  • Scottish music being so fabulous. We saw The Twilight Sad a few weeks ago and they were ridiculously good. I've been on a Scottish music kick ever since, like I said, Scotland's for me!

Yeah, mostly I'm just grateful for The Twilight Sad's perfect blend of melancholic noise rock (with a side of 80s synths), oh, and the existence of this song by We Were Promised Jetpacks.


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Feeling less than victorious

I want this blog to be a way for me to record memories and seemingly mundane details of my life, as something to look back on in a week/month/year's time and smile at the happy memories, so I've not been blogging for a couple of days because physically and mentally, I've not felt great, or much like blogging. It's not that I'm trying to put on a front, or trying to mislead you about what my life is like, but I don't really like the idea of documenting the bad times so much - focusing on the good helps me feel more grateful for what I do have in my life, and makes me feel less like I'm just complaining to a forum of friends and strangers.

Having said all that, I'm going to talk about it anyway... Very briefly.

I've not really felt like I've been at my best since before Christmas, which is draining and frustrating, between my back issues and colds and all the rest, and then last week I was having a terrible few days, feeling rundown and rubbish, and decided I needed to take some time of work if I was going to give my body half a chance to fight whatever I assumed it was I was coming down with. 4 days of complete bed rest with Hubby (who unfortunately had some kind of stomach bug at the same time), getting through about 3 seasons of Grey's Anatomy and eating a fair amount of junk food - we take 'bed rest' very seriously in our house, I do anyway, he tries to sneak in some work, even when he's sick!

But 4 days later and I still don't feel any better really, I'm putting my headache down to trying to give up normal tea (I've switched to decaf), which maybe wasn't the most sensible thing to do at a time like this, but that still leaves me feeling tired, achey and just kind of down in the dumps a bit, for no reason I'm aware of. And it sucks! I've gone back to work just for something to do with myself, and a bit of fresh air seems to be helping (although dealing with 150 screaming children with a pounding headache negates any benefit that might have), but really, I just want to crawl back in to bed and hibernate for a week or 3...

Obviously I can't do that, so I'm trying to stay upbeat and focus of the good things to come. I've only got until Friday at my second job (which is exhausting), it's my birthday next week and my mum is coming up to visit & celebrate it with me, we're hoping to see the delectable Wave Pictures in Leeds in a few weeks, and we're definitely seeing the divine Ryan Adams in Sheffield, as well as just booking tickets to go and see the WWE Wrestlemania Revenge Tour Smackdown event in Newcastle next month. I'm not the biggest fan in the world, but Hubby loves it and I can get on board for one evening if it means I get to wear some spandex and hold up a big sign. We're also giving blood again in a few weeks, and then we're hoping to get cracking on this starting a family business...

I also wore a totally boss hat to my Grandma's 80th birthday party.

Hubby chanelled his inner Scott Parker and looked pretty dapper himself.

I was pretty chuffed with how my hair turned out given that I put it up 5 minutes before I left using a lipstick, with no idea of what I was actually trying to achieve. It sort of turned out like upside down victory rolls on the left side, with a low messy bun pinned in on the right. Seriously, another reason why you should always carry a lipstick with you (and a thousand bobby pins...) It wasn't planned, but it worked really well with my 20s dress, and obviously my totally OTT hat - outfit post and some more pictures to come later. It held up pretty well with just a little serum on, since I had no hairspray, and when I took it down later (once the shoes had been kicked off for maximum discoing), it was full on corkskrew curly, so I might try it again to make heatless curls in the future.

Only 4 days left until the weekend!
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