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What’s it all about? Blog Video

As some of you may know a couple of years ago I used to dabble in making YouTube videos! These were always quite amateur, usually Vlogs on my Uni life or Makeup and Fashion videos. I stopped making them a few years ago when I moved to London because my life got quite hectic and I didn’t have the right equipment or a laptop that could cope with video editing / uploading (or the money to upgrade)!

I’ve always felt quite bad directing people to my YouTube Channel and also to my existing subscribers, so yesterday I made a Blog Video! It sums up what I write about and can be used to direct any lovely YouTube people to my blog (which I’m glad to say is now more active).

Enjoy and share! I pulled this together using a really simple online program called Stupeflix which allowed me to pull in my Instagram pictures.

T w i t t e r | B l o g L o v i n ‘ | I n s t a g r a m | P i n t r e s t

2

Last Week #3

SiobhanAlfordLastWeek2013

♥ OOTN Parrot crop tee, skinny jeans, heart necklace | Red lips & Nails | Barry M Coral with Red Wine tips | OOTN heeled trainers ♥

Sorry that this post is late! Bloody useless haha. But without further ado here is my latest ramblings and happenings complete with Instagram best snaps of the week.

♥ T H E  G O O D ♥

Outfits & Nails: So I’ll work backwards and start with the weekend : ) I went for a couple of drinks with John’s housemates & friends on Friday night to New Cross. I wore a cropped tee shirt that I’ve had for ages. It’s navy blue with little bright parrots on, subtle but with a small pop of summer colour. It also has lovely scallop edges including the sleeves which makes it a bit more interesting for a casual evening outfit. I wore this with my super skinny jeans (the type you have to wiggle in to – but luckily they have an elastic waist instead of a button!) and brown, heeled trainers from River Island. I wore red lips and painted my nails a deep coral with dark red tips (both Barry M).

aprilphotosupdate

♥ A handful of ratties | Lovely midweek sandwich | Sleepy | Homemade lasagne & wine  | Samples | Becks arty labels
| Makeup and Nails | Late night chicken burger | Hangover mission, fry up for five ♥

Work: The week itself was uneventful, I did some reception work in Farringdon Monday and Tuesday, John made a really nice Lasagne which was a surprise on Monday so that was dinner for 2 days >.<

Samples: Collecting dust amongst my beauty products are numerous samples and freebies, those you tend to accumulate every time you get a nice shop assistant or in a beauty bag free when you spend a certain amount on a brand. These little mini versions are often overlooked, I tend to already have something else on the go so put them aside. But I dug them out the other day and I thought why not!? I’ve been using them all everyday for the last week so for their miniscule size they pack in quite a bit of product. I’ll get a full review up soon, but here’s what I’m trying out: No.7 Protect and Perfect Beauty Serum, Estee Lauder Idealist Skin Care Illuminator, Dior Capture Totale eye serum and eye cream.

photosoftheweek

♥ Underground | Greenwich Park | Neutral nails for work, O.P.I Alpine snow | Buskers in Greenwich | The Market | Johno in the park! ♥

Sunday: On Sunday we walked in to Greenwich because the SUN was out, yep that long-lost friend of ours that’s been hibernating for, oh, only about 8 months!! It was a really nice day, had McDonalds, walked to the top of the hill which has a pretty good view over London and sat and drank some cider. The Market in Greenwich was pretty nice for a wander around, there were lots of unique patterned tops and crafty necklaces I’d have probably treated myself to if I’d had money!

Sometimes I can’t believe how fast a week flies by! I’m starting a new temping job role next with as a Communication assistant for a Hotel brand. Wish me luck! It’s scheduled to last a few weeks but we’ll see! What have you been up to now the sun has surfaced?!

T w i t t e r | B l o g L o v i n | Y o u T u b e | I n s t a g r a m | T u m b l r

4

Liebster Blog Award

So last night I received an email from the lovely Beca off of Those Moments of Serendipity nominating me for the Liebster Blog award… Lobster blog award?! I was intrigued! After a little bit of reading and research I found out that the Liebster (duh) Blog award is to give recognition to up and coming bloggers with 200 followers or less. It’s a tool of encouragement, not an ‘official’ award but a way of finding, sharing and communicating with blogs & bloggers you may not have been familiar with before, (how sweet!) I must say I’ve had a great time today just exploring Blog Lovin’ finding blogs in the furthest corners. I’ve read about peoples lives, seen photos and read poems. If this is not what sharing is about than I don’t know what is. So without further ado I will jump in to the requirements of the Liebster Blog Nomination!

♥ R e q u i r e m e n t s ♥

1. Share eleven things about myself
2. Answer eleven questions provided by the nominator
3. Nominate eleven blogs (under 200 followers) that deserve the title
4. Think of eleven questions to ask these nominees
5. Thank the person that nominated me and link back to their blog

I absolutely l o v e the way this works on a question and tagging system, not only does it give me some content to ramble on about but it connects me with other bloggers >.< and there’s nothing like a bit of networking to help boost a blogs morale (go us!) so if you find yourself tagged by me (you’re welcome) then it’s because I’ve found something special in your writing and I hope we can stay connected.

headerpanda

  1. I’ve lived in Cornwall, Bournemouth & London (all in the UK)
  2. I believe love truly makes the world go round
  3. I used to be addicted to World of Warcraft
  4. I regularly sleep talk
  5. I  flick between being really tidy and really messy
  6. When I find time I like to make and edit videos
  7. I adore all things cute
  8. I enjoy graphic design and making things pretty online
  9. I love Anime and Manga
  10. Cheese makes most things tastier
  11. I can sometimes be very socially awkward and shy

  1. What is your all time favorite product?
    For practicality it’s got to be concealer! I find Mac Studio Fix gives great coverage
  2. Do you prefer Boots or Superdug?
    Boots
  3. What do you do as a job?
    A bit of everything, currently Receptionist/Office Administration
  4. If you had to never use either makeup or hair products again (including shampoo!) which would you keep?
    Make up (in the hope my hair would wash itself, that happens right…)
  5. Do you have any pets?
    Two rats: Pandee & Brie
  6. What is your dream job?
    Realistically: Marketing/Communications
    Unrealistically: Freelance Writer, in a little studio in my (dream) sunlit house
  7. Do you prefer pants of skirts?
    Skirts
  8. Do you prefer twitter or facebook?
    Facebook
  9. What is your favorite genre of movie?
    Drama/Intense-plot-twisty type
  10. Cakes, brownies or cookies?
    Cookies
  11. What is your favorite flower?
    Pansies

I did some hunting high and low to compile this blog list, I’ve picked a variety of different blogs, writers, poets, photographers, those that share thoughts and those that share beauty & style. It would be great if you went and had a gander at their sites, leave some comments and connect with the content, after all that’s what this award is about!

  1. C o r n i s h  B e a u t y
  2. S i m p l e  B l i s s
  3. R e a d  M y  M i n d
  4. T h e  R a i n  G i r l
  5. M y   F a i r y t a l e  B o n e s
  6. H o w  I  D w e l l  N o w
  7. Y o u n g  G e o r g i a  L o v e
  8. T h r o u g h  a  C a t s  E y e s
  9. C a l v i  R o s e
  10. A z t e c  D o l l
  11. D i v i n e  C h a o s

p. s. In my recommending you please don’t feel any obligation to carry on the tag, it can be an honorary award : ) Also I think some of you nominees have received a Liebster nomination before – I hope you know this just means your page is loved + apologies if you have more than 200 followers, it’s hard to tell sometimes, I just went off BlogLovin’ figures : )

  1. Night or Day?
  2. Favourite quote?
  3. Girl Crush?
  4. 1 word, choose wisely:
  5. The best place you’ve ever visited?
  6. When do you feel h a p p y?
  7. What are you most looking forward to right now?
  8. 1 secret, choose wisely:
  9. Hot or Cold?
  10. 1 goal in life, choose wisely:
  11. What are you most grateful for?

Thanks for reading guys, what hidden blog gems do you think deserve the Liebster award? Make sure if you are nominated to write in the comments below if you’re going to answer my questions – I’m intrigued! : )
p.s Did you like my seal titles above? too cute!

 ♥ I was picked by Beca of Those Moments of Serendipity check out her stuff and you can find her on Blog Lovin here 
(Thanks Beca!) ♥


T w i t t e r  | B l o g L o v i n  | Y o u T u b e | I n s t a g r a m | T u m b l r

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I ♥ Cute Things – David & Goliath

Okay so here is another I  ♥ Cute Things Post! I hope you enjoy. I’ve rounded up a selection of goodies from the cutesy brand David & GoliathI absolutely adore their products and clothes. They are bright, fun, quirky and H A P P Y. I particularly like their T-shirts to wear in bed or lounging around the house and if your everyday style is not as bold or cartoon-y as this then try just grabbing a few accessories for a splash of fun amongst your everyday fashion choices. My most wanted on this list is the iPhone Case, the dinosaur T-shirts and the Hoodie (I’ve wanted this for yonks) CUTE ♥

Button Badges: £1
T-Shirts: £20
I I ♥ Nerds Hoodie: £29.99
iPhone Case: £10
Vans Heart Shoes: £40
Skull Leggings: £10
Sushi PJ Shorts: £15
Veggi USB Snap Bracelet: £15
Key Rings: £5
Panda Flat Cap: £25

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Last Week #2

♥ T H E  G O O D ♥

TV Roundup: Game of Thrones, New Girl, Dr Who: *spoiler alerts* *spoiler alerts* 

Well Game of Thrones season 3 is here!! There was a huge buzz about its return and I think the first episode didn’t disappoint! I’ve only recently become addicted to this series but as you can probably tell I can’t stop raving about it. Definitely one of the best television shows out there at the moment and I do stand by my belief that atypically for its genre it appeals to a wide audience so if you don’t think this will be your cup of tea you may be surprised. Me and John become so engrossed each episode that we are often literally shouting at the screen and you feel such a huge rush of pride when one of the ‘goodies’ triumphs! (Although the line between the ‘goodies’ and the ‘badies’ is always thin in GOT.) Things I cant wait to find out in the upcoming series, When will Daenerys (who I did love but seems to be quite a brat recently) make it to Westeros and will she have any allies? Will Jon Snow become a traitor or will there be a allying of the Wildlings and The Wall as they fight the white walkers? P.S best quote from him in S3E1: “I want to fight for the side that fights for the living.” Also how is Arya going to get on and Bran (they’re two of my favourite characters)?! I’m thinking I have to start reading the books, they seem right up my street plus I just want to know more about the world and the characters. The only downside to the return of the show on TV means I can’t watch them back-to-back anymore, a week is so loong (yes I’m impatient).

Other things I’ve been watching this week are the latest Dr Who episodes. I quite like Clara as a side kick. She seems brave, curious and kind-hearted  (and I’ve got a bit of a girl crush >.<). Plus I’m very interested to find out about her parallel versions. I also caught up on New Girl. I kinda get why they are dragging out the Jess/Nick romance, (its hard to imagine where they are going to go with it’), but I think it opens up a lot of avenues and am rooting… so just happen all ready! Schmidt still continues to deliver epic quote after quote: (to Nick) “Here are some things you want to hide about yourself on tonight’s date–you’re cheap, you’re a heavy drinker, you’re broke, you have a problem with anger” (S2E21).
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Socialising: For the past month I’ve been being good on the weekend and staying in, trying to save money, and except for my trip to Cornwall for Lucy’s birthday, I’ve been achieving this. However with Lucy out over the weekend and John back in his hometown Oxford I thought I better get out and about and see some friends. Surprisingly I managed to have two really great budget nights! On Friday I went in to Leicester Square with my friend Charlie and we had a few (4 large each…) glasses of wine at Yates. It was one of those nights where it was just really fun to get drunk together and have a natter about whats been happening in our lives and it was only £6.30 a round (which Charlie mostly bought because she’s amazing like that.) I ended up falling asleep on the last train home though which is never fun! On Saturday I met up with my ex work colleagues (and beautiful friends) who worked with me in my last restaurant. It was a guy’s birthday which he had reserved an area for, there was wine, there was jugs of cocktails and there was prosecco… yum! Here’s some piccys from the night! I stopped myself getting a taxi back and went for the night bus home so all in all a pretty cheap night : )

♥ Saturday Night | Friday Night outfit: Skinny Jeans, heeled boots, denim shirt done up, grey vest | Bus Friends
| Make up Friday | Birthday Present | Cecilia & Vlad | Me and Beautiful Tara | Make up Saturday | Birthday Boy & Us ♥

♥  T H E  N O T – S O – G O O D  ♥

Hangover Hell: With the joy of going out and having a good time usually comes the dreaded HANGOVER day! Of course you can argue that days such as these would easily be avoided if you didn’t drink to excess the night before, but in all fairness I don’t think I do. Sometimes I can escape with a minor headache, or a general grotty feeling but both nights out this week left me feeling rotten the next day. The hangover miracle cure I swear by is drinking tonnes of water, (in fact I’m a bit of a water obsesso in general), but as always I don’t always follow my own advice. Instead I stupidly passed out in bed as soon as I got home, no water was drank, no make-up removed (ouch poor skin). This meant I missed out on a really nice day Saturday, I stayed in bed all day mewing and feeling sorry for myself watching too much YouTube and New Girl until I finally dragged myself to Tesco. After some Lucozade, Innocent raspberry and apple juice, tea, soup, bread, pringles and dip (I always have the weirdest cravings when I’m hungover) and a shower I felt marginally better and dragged myself in to town for round two. OH the things we do to our poor bodies! It’s safe to say I’m going to be taking it easy this week and making sure I’m being a bit more healthy.

Window Shopping: Is the only shopping I can do right now *cry* I had a browse around Urban Outfitters in Spitalfields the other day, so many cute things I want! Nice mugs (I love buying mugs) nail polishes, coasters, candles and quirky books (don’t even get me started on the clothes!) Oh well a girl can dream.

Buses: Neither good or bad but I found it quite amusing when I was walking down The Strand the other day and saw seven buses in a row… you know the saying >.<

Do you have any miracle hangover cures? Have you been watching any of the TV shows mentioned, thoughts please! : D

photo credits ©:  BBC | HBO | Fox Broadcasting

1

Easter 2013 ♥ Cornwall

Last weekend was the Easter bank holiday and I can tell you a touch of escapism was greatly needed! My life in London lately has been a bit rocky (to say the least), I’ve been between jobs, have an unsightly bank balance and am just in one of those what-am-I-doing-with-my-life-black-holes!! (Okay touch dramatic) But you get the picture. So when my flatmate, who is also from Cornwall, decided to head back home for her birthday on Good Friday I thought I’d take the excuse to go back too, celebrate with her and catch up with my family. As an added bonus I got to drag John with me (mwahaha) to show him where I’m from and allow him to get scrutinised by my mum (which didn’t happen – she’s lovely.)

So me, John, Pandee & Brie set off at 4.30am on Friday the 29th! We made quite a sleepy bunch dragging ourselves from South East London to Paddington in the wee hours. What didn’t help was the fact we’d been awake watching Game of Thrones at 1am (and admittedly I was still packing). Our original plan was to get the 5.30pm Megabus home on Thursday (we were both working that day) and the coach made sense as it is the cheapest (albeit most uncomfortable & longest) way to travel to down to the far corner of the UK. Although, as is usual with me and my last-minute-ness, things didn’t go to plan. The Megabus sold out : ( and I was thrown in to a mad panic because we couldn’t afford the train at least until I saw there was one at 6am on Good Friday for a fraction of the price. Again though I didn’t really think about it in great detail and it was only the night before that we realised there were no trains or tubes to get us directly to Paddington at 5am so we had to opt for a grueling one hour night bus which was naturally the perfect way to start a long day of travelling : | My little jelly squids were perfectly behaved on the train and Brie even had a little stretch of her legs on our seats to the horror/fascination/joy of the other travelers. John was pretty impressed by the sea when the train hit the coast as he said he hadn’t seen it since he was 17! (Aww) In all honesty though it just goes to show how easy it is to take natural beauty for granted and growing up by the coast has meant I definitely don’t always appreciate the sea and the beautiful beaches we have. must. do. more.

cornwall1

Anyway so we pulled in to the beautiful station of Camborne (haha it’s really not beautiful) at about 1.30pm a little tired and extremely hungry. We went back to my home, let the rats settle and I caught up with my mum and brothers. But we didn’t have long to rest before we caught the train to Truro for Lucy’s birthday celebrations! We ate out in a really nice restaurant called Bustophers I had this posh looking chicken dish with ‘fondant potatoes’ (didn’t have a clue what they were!) and lots of wine. John had the steak though which made me very jealous (but not of the price tag!) The evening was just perfect because I got to spend time with my Cornish girls, and since going separate ways after University, this is always cherished. The night got a bit more merry, was filled with Jäger bombs, lots of photos and dancing. We moved onto Spoons then Vanilla Bar before ending up in one of our college day haunts L2 nightclub.

♥ Me and my girls. My outfit: black skinny jeans, peplum top & heeled trainers all primark.
Birthday girl, Rhos and Mike. More pics of us! ♥

The rest of the weekend was relaxed. We spent time at home watching films with my family, went down to Godrevy for a walk on Saturday and then to Carbis Bay and St Ives on Easter Sunday. Got to partake in (and win!!) an Easter Egg hunt with Aidan (my little brother) and John. Enjoyed mum’s classic Sunday roast and indulged in a bit too much cake and chocolate >.< It was a lovely break away from the city and a reality shock when we had to endure the 8 hour Megabus back on the Monday at 5am!! Time back home is always special and I’m so happy I go to spend some time in one of the most beautiful places in the country with my favourite people : ) Hope you enjoy my pictures.

♥ Mums Easter cake | Aidan & John | Easter bunnies | Chocolate overdose | Sunday Roast
Sleepy cat | Caves | Early mornings | Exploring | John at Carbis Bay | Cat attack | Friday night  ♥

What did you get up to for the Easter weekend? Has anyone visited Cornwall before, what are your thoughts? I love being by the seaside and feel lucky to have grown up there!

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Last Week #1

LASTWEEK

♥ T H E  G O O D ♥

Work:
So last week marked my second (and a bit) week of temping. I haven’t really mentioned much about this because I’m saving it up to write a blog post all about my temping experience (the pay, the hours and my general opinion.)  But just to fill you in briefly I’ve signed up with a lovely recruitment agency who send you out on assignments across central London to office assistant or reception based roles. So far I’ve done a Friday on reception for a financial company, the majority of the week before last I helped out with event co-ordination for another financial firm (they had an absolutely lovely kitchen with lots of yummy food and tonnes of tea we could help ourselves to!) and last week I worked right next to Tower Bridge in another reception role.

It was a front desk position at this super posh building called 4 More London.  There was a slight misunderstanding about the dress code when I arrived so spent the first day sheepishly in my light brown (dress code black) top and casual cardy (dress code smart). But despite my NON-EXISTENT funds at the moment I managed to make a dash to Primark to better equip myself. I got a few nice black tops, some patent look high heels and a blazer. Teamed all week with the only pencil skirt I own (also Primarks finest)!

It’s been quite a nice role, 8am – 5pm, and I just had to look attentive at the front desk, sign in visitors, call the companies in the building to announce people etc etc. I’ve spent a fair amount of each day reading blogs because there are long quiet periods. Situated right on the river there was an AMAZING view from the all-glass reception area, but on the downside when you step outside it’s a hurricane. Strong, icy winds that destroy any attempt at nice hair for the day and manage to seep in and make you shiver whilst working. But working in the heart of London is definitely an experience I wouldn’t pass up on. Each day is pretty unique and I had an easy journey this week, ten minutes to London Bridge and a 5 minute walk.

Game of Thrones:
In other things me and John have been plowing through Game of Thrones we only started watching last week and are now halfway through season 2. (Coincidentally season 3 comes out now! so must catch up.) It’s so addictive, confusing at times but fast paced, action filled (a tad gory really) and fascinating. I love things that fall into a high fantasy genre but only when they are structured with a solid back story and a certain level of realism. GOT translates really well to the screen and I think they’ve done a superb job of crafting the world of Westeros and Easteros and intertwining the parallel story lines and the conflicts between characters. Not just one for those with a love for Medieval drama either GOT has depth and is also heavily focused on politics, family values, betrayal and morality.

CORNWALL:
I took John Home to Cornwall for Easter!! which you can read about more h e r e. I had a Lovely Easter weekend with my family and it was also my flatmate’s 23rd birthday so we celebrated that in one of our old haunts in Truro.

Pizza Bus:
We went to our local Deptford pub, which is called The Bird’s Nest, after work this week. Well happy hour ‘one-drink’ turned into happy hour three and before we knew it we were pretty starving! I’d always wanted to try the Pizza Bus next door which is a novelty London double decker bus turned restuarant. It was much better than I expected. The interior of the bus is decked out (haha) nicely with candles on each table and the food was great. There was also a bar and seating area outside with pretty fairy lights! : )

Home made treats:
Made a pretty tasty spagetti bolonaise the other day (the leftovers also turned into chilli) and John made us some American style pancakes which we ate with Bacon, eggs and maple syrup. MMmmmm.

♥  T H E  N O T – S O – G O O D  ♥

Train Etiquette:
I’ve found my rage for how a certain few (in fact most) use the London train and underground system has reached new levels. It’s never pleasant when you have to join the masses and fight your way onto the train, just to stand between someone’s newspaper and another’s armpit (lovely). But it must be done if you need to be somewhere between those peak times and it can be bearable if everyone just showed a little train etiquette! Now I rush myself, it’s hard not to match the pace those mornings require, but it really riles me when you get someone behind you stepping on your heels when YOU CAN’T GET ANY FASTER. I always shoot them a dagger look. Same goes for when the overground train pulls into the station and you get that eager guy by the door pressing the ‘Open’ button repeatedly before you’ve even stopped. You’re already rolling your eyes at him and waiting to get off, then someone behind you starts elbowing through trying to pass you in their panic to disembark. Just be calm, be patient we’re all going the same way! It’s so frustrating and makes an already unpleasant journey even more so. Rant over.

Early Mornings:
I. do. not. like.

Mess:
No matter how often it feels like I tidy my room… mess finds me again! I need to get a bit more organised I think and start making my room prettier.


2

Bringing back the Diary

Between the years 2001 – 2007 I was an avid dairy writer and, although towards the ’06, 07′ years said diaries were practically incomplete, for the most part of my teen years I documented EVERYTHING.

The meaning of ‘diary’ is completely elusive in itself, it can be what we use to jot appointments and meetings in, (if you’re more organised than me that is) or it can be the outlet for all our hopes, dreams and secrets. Whilst my diary writing days followed the latter route, I managed to mix hopes & dreams with a LOT of factual, everyday descriptions… “Woke up at 7am, showered and had cereal for breakfast. I walked to school…” etc etc, I’m sure you get the drift, not riveting stuff. However whenever I’m visiting my family back in Cornwall and I come across the stack of worn away, W H Smith diaries, in the ‘junk’ cupboard above my bed it’s so easy to become engrossed reading through my mundane early years.

Memories are SO precious and (at the risk of sounding completely scientificly inacurate) the conscious part of our brain (you know the active bit we can almost speak thoughts in) is too small to deal efficiently with the HUGE catalog of memories we store in the other areas of our subconscious. So most of the time memories we have will never be recalled unless promoted or triggered.  I find this really sad, and I notice it more than ever when I read my diaries, there are events and feelings that otherwise I would not have brought to mind, that would have slipped through the cracks forever.

If this isn’t reason enough to put pen to paper then I don’t know what is, but it’s still easier said than done. For a start what is an entirely natural process for a socially-awkward, insanely crush-obsessed, teenage girl doesn’t sit so well with an older me. Dear Dirary… no longer flows so easily on to paper let alone an out-pour of your day and emotional state of mind. I don’t know if this is true for everyone but whilst I may of been more socially awkward as a teenager I still felt comfortable scribbling down my private thoughts, something that has been lost in the transition to 23 year old me. I feel a disconnection with writing down how I feel, I’m no longer inhibition-free and I struggle to begin a typical diary passage that my 14 year old self eagarly spilled onto the page (in a variety of colours and scents – gel pens were the rage.)

Secondly we just don’t have the time. It’s ironic how angst-ridden our teenage years feel, how we are, en-mass, being oppressed and persecuted by the adult population, by our peers, by our siblings – how burdensome everything is. When in reality we never have it so easy again. I’m generalising here of course but you get the jist. 13 year old me walked home from school around 3.30pm (no nasty hour commute), this was followed by dinner being made by my parents and a relaxed evening interjected occasionaly by homework or an argument about getting off the computer and going to bed. There was no cooking, laundry, commitments, appointments or stress. Chores that were given were completed with sulky, heavy steps, (how ghastly that I’ve been forced to complete this outrageous task of washing up after dinner. Ahkjags.) Life is tough. Yet there is always time for documenting how unfair it is. Once you wave goodbye to your last Summer/Christmas/Easter holiday (ah how good were they?) then life tends to get a bit more hectic and we know where diary writing falls on our prioirty lists…

However I love the rush of nostalgia you get from reading back over thoughts from the past. It’s similar to how I feel when I often flick through the photos on my phone or instagram account, or when I hear a story from my childhood, if it brings back even just one recolection from a certain day or event than its worked for me. Whilst it’s difficult, incorporating some element of the ‘Diary’ into our busy and stressful lives can be hugely rewarding in more ways than one. Collecting thoughts can serve to help us organise our worrys, it can help us make decisions  and I think it’s important sometimes to take a break away from digital documenting! Yes our facebook may have all our holiday pictures in, and yes twitter is an active timeline of the things we’ve done recently but there is something special about holding a memory in your hand, about it being a solid object!

This is why I’m champing for “Bring back the diary(Even as I write this blog I will point out I am nortoriously awful at keeping a project going, and so this is as much a challenge for me as it is for anyone who wants to give it a go.) I want you to tackle this in any way that suits you, it doesn’t matter how much or how little you are writing, you can get creative stick in some printed out photos you love, train tickets, cinema tickets – don’t be neat! 

♥ TIPS AND TRICKS: ♥

  Try and write something everyday. One thougt, one activity, one emotion.

Keep your Journal with you EVERYWHERE you go

When you hear a song you want to download later write it down same goes for movies, books, meal ideas, holiday spots – the list is endless

Don’t be afraid to ramble

Put down milestones – whether that milestone is the day you got engaged (time, place, how!) or the day you decided to quit your job or the day that boy you’ve had a crush on said Hey – it doesn’t matter how big or small, it’s fascinating to look back and read these things

Here’s a little sample of some notebooks and stationary you can use to inspire you to start your journal, scrapbook or diary! I’m a stationary worshiper (and I’m sure you can see the panda/cutsey/cartoon theme going on too hehe). You can find all of the above from either Artbox (my favourite site to buy kawaii themed bits and bobs from it is a m a z i n g) Paperchase, Urban Outfitters or Cath Kidston

Happy Writing! I will document how I get on with my journal/scrapbook/diary.

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The Host

If you are a twi-hard fan then back in the day you may have read Stephanie Meyer’s other novel, The Host (2008). However you may have stumbled across this book just as a lover of Young Adult sci-fi as it’s a pretty damn good read. I ended up flying through this book in one of those intense all night reading sessions after I’d bought it for a mixture of the two reasons above. It caught my eye because of the publicity it received, being from the author of the Twilight sensation, but it also fell into a genre I had a tendancy towards already.

There’s been a huge surge in dystopian fiction aimed at teenagers, to name just a few novels that have recently been gracing the ‘Top Seller’ lists internationally: The Uglies, The Maze Runner and Divergent. The genre, bench-marked by classics such as Orwell’s 1984 or Huxley’s Brave New World, has exploded in fiction aimed at young adults. Perhaps its popularity stems from a fascination about the state of our planet and a growing awareness of political and social fractures that might cause a modern-day dystopia. However not all dystopian themes mirror a future that could be possible many steering towards a very fantasy or sci-fi direction and might serve as pure escapism and indulgence in some pretty dark themes. Either way the genre is open to a lot of different themes and interpretation and if your looking for some good reads to ease you in then check out my recent post on some dystopian fiction I read when I was younger.

The Host is set in a future where a race of parasitic alien ‘souls’ have taken control of the majority of humans left on Earth, all except for small pockets of resistance. It is in the journey to find such a free community that the still-human protagonist Melanie is captured and taken over by a soul. The narrative centres on the battle of free will as Melanie refuses to completely lose herself to the ‘soul’ whose mission is to inflitrate the resistence and also the soul’s own conflicts of conscience. Along the way there is naturally love and heartbreak and a touch of action. Due for release later this month (March 29th 2013) I’m intrigued to see how they’ve adapted the novel for the screen.

In a similar vein the hugely successful trilogy The Hunger Games hit the big screens with its first installment last year. I always have mixed views when a novel I love is made into a movie. “They don’t look like that?! what happened to that bit!” are phrases that will often pass my lips after I’ve watched a movie adaptation. Preconceptions are shattered and that indulgence you share with a book in being able to visualise the words and characters and themes in your own way is ultimately gone. I’m not against it completely and there will be movies I watch where I’ve yet to read the novel and perhaps later do and enjoy in a different way. However for the most part I tend to seperate them as best I can. I personally felt that The Hunger Games movie was not a touch on the novel but can see why. There is afterall a complex world and fast paced plot to capture in 90 minutes or so.

Whilst The Host may be one I save until DVD release (which seems to come around so fast these days) I’m keen to check it out and hopefully be plesantly surprised! You can watch the trailer below.

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Friday’s piccy: Home

Godrevy and Gwithian beaches, about 10 minutes from my house. I went for a muck around surf with my dad and Sam last night and it really struck me how little I appreciate the beauty of home. The sun was sinking over the sea, the waves were not too rough – believe me it was picture perfect – and I thought how damn lucky I really was. So here’s my shout out to Cornwall and the true beauty we have here. I love you.

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Dissertation Dilemma

I got back my dissertation proposal yesterday and, to my surprise, it had been given the go-ahead by my tutors. I say surprise because since submitting my idea I had began to question it. You can read the full proposal here but basically I’ve proposed to do a creative dissertation, specifically a selection of short stories, very character focused, based on strands of the existentialist philosophy. I knew my proposal was quite weak – my stories underdeveloped and my theme only a starting point at best – and had since been wondering whether I should switch to doing a discursive dissertation, a literature based investigation into a writer or theme of my choice.

Now my dilemma stands as such: do I throw myself into developing the short story suggestion? Even with the risk that always accompanies creative fiction, that being how subjectively it can be read (a bad mark on this could really affect my degree). OR do I change my whole idea without guidance from the powers above (aka my lecturers) to a discursive dissertation which allows for an essay format I am already familiar with?

Take a look at my proposal – let me know whether you think my idea has any strength and if anyone has any suggestions or starting points for research please feel free to comment or e-mail 🙂 many thanks

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Creative dissertation proposal

My dissertation proposal – feel free to pick apart and offer suggestions in any form!

A collection of short stories: An hour to exist – conceptual outline

The project will comprise of a collection of short stories based on concepts taken from the philosophy of existentialism. The stories will incorporate themes of absurdity, meaningless, angst, alienation and boredom. There will be 3 or 4 stories (around 1200-1600 words each) which will be entirely character focused with an aim to depict a ‘snapshot’ (an hour) of the characters lives. The characters will not know each other or live near each other but there will be details within each piece of fiction that ties them all together.

Hooper (2000 p.2) when talking of Edgar Allan Poe’s famously gothic short stories describes them adeptly: “In the space of a few pages and a few minutes we are offered quick but indelible glances into Poe’s dark characters.” He then furthers his view on some of Poe’s classic work such as ‘The tell-tale heart’ (1850) as offering us “peeks at the possibility of darkness in our own souls.” This sense that the reader can draw out of a story a sense of dark and quiet reflection is something that the collection proposed would aim to recreate.

“A good short story asks a question that can’t be answered in simple terms” (Mosley and Keison 2003 p.XV) The themes that the stories proposed will encapsulate will ask questions, and draw upon many worries in life that many of us think about or at least lie dormant within our subconscious. These include a sense of not fitting in, an awareness of death and a struggle to assert meaning to human life and existence. The issues raised by those who believe in the concept of existentialist philosophy can be seen as relevant to us all.

Many existentialist issues have been raised in literature such as Albert Campus’s novel ‘The Stranger’ (1942) and Satre’s play about the afterlife entitled ‘No Exit.’ (1944) Furthermore elements of such concepts can be seen woven into modern fiction such as Nick Hornby’s ‘High fidelity’ (1995.) Works such as these will be closely looked at and interpreted for their views on existentialist concepts and themes. ‘The Scream’ (1893) the famously haunting painting by Edvard Munch will be used as a starting point for inspiration as it is a beautifully captured piece that expresses intense and painful desperation.

Medium
The short story feels right for this project. There is a sense of totality in the reading of a story in one sitting, an intensity that can strengthen the message intended. “The pleasure of the quick, concentrated reading experience is more piquant.” (Hooper 2000 p.2) Every word in a short story feels precious; leading purposefully toward a predetermined effect.

The short story can also be seen as a ‘fragment,’ as a small glimpse into something immense. This ties in with the concept of the collection in that the stories would be snap-shots, focused and intense insights into individual’s lives, thoughts, and anxieties. The short story can be seen to present “in a vigorous, compressed, suggestive way, a simplification and idealization of a particular part or phase of life.” (Albright 2009 p.5) in other words it can be seen as a small piece of a puzzle, that although can seem abstract and sometimes incomplete, can still bring something to the user, and is vital and needed despite its size.