Pinterest Corner #29 – Come Alive

yes.

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This quote is of interest to me this week because I’ve realised just quite how true it is. This reality came to light when I was doing the most mind numbing job at work last week – literally the most painful thing ever!  and I realised that the easiest things in the world to do well are those things that you love. I love blogging, so I find it simple to sit down and knock out a blog post about food or travels or my weekly shenanigans and it’s not half bad. It makes me feel alive and happy to complete something that I’m proud of – be it a blog post, a cake or a marketing campaign.  But put me in front of a document that needs far less words but is related to something dullsville – like admin at work or the plight of the grey grasshopper (who knows if that’s a thing) and well I’ll struggle for hours to get any work done and it won’t be fun at all. I’d be depresed and stroppy and generally not good company for a while too. If only we could do more interesting things with our days – I want to be the sort of person who can do 95% of the things they love with their life and who clearly loves it and is a pleasure to be around, but sadly that’s not to be at the moment.

But someone who has done that is my lovely cousin Cathy, she’s just packed in her job and set up her own business (the lovely site Old Farm Interiors) selling lovely looking products. [on a side note I need this otter cushion in my life]. When we caught up with her the other day she said something that really made me think (and which ties into the idea in the quote above) and that’s this: she’s never worked so hard in her life or such long hours but she’s loving every second of it. And you could see it in her face, she was absolutely buzzing and so happy.  All I could think at that time is that I was supremely jealous – how amazing must that be?  To be able to work on something you absolutely love and to be so happy about it must be awesome. To be honest I’m lucky as I love my job about 80% of the time, but I wouldn’t mind being in the situation where I love everything about my job and to be one of those people that others can just tell when they look at you. That would be rather nice I think.

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Holiday love

This week I’m in Wales and (hopefully) having a ball just relaxing, reading and eating. I cannot wait! As I’m fairly certain wifi will be almost nonexistent for most of my trip (I’m actually ridiculously excited about this) I thought I’d prep some posts to keep you entertained whilst I’m gone. So here’s one such post! As I’ve been excited for this week off for ages I thought I’d share sone thoughts on why I’m so happy about being on my holibobs. Obviously there are loads of reasons why we love a holiday and here are mine:

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A four day week…

This ‘lately’ post is a little earlier than usual and that’s because I’m now on my hollibobs – hooray to me! – and I won’t be able to update as per usual on Monday morning. As I’ve actually got some interesting (in my humble opinion) things to share I thought I’d post this on day one of the holiday so you don’t miss out! I’m so kind like that aren’t I?!

So apart from working like a crazy thing to get everything done on time before six whole days off I’ve also been:

  • To the premiere of Red 2 in Leicester Square, squeee! There was flashing lights, a red carpet, free pop chips, celeb spots (both good – Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren and Mary Louise Parker – and bad – John Fashanu and Vanessa Feltz!) and a freaking brilliant film. Definitely get watching it once it’s out across the UK – it’s hilarious!!
  • Treating myself to a haircut, and I’m totally in love with it. It looks and feels sooooo much better. Why don’t I get it cut more often?
  • Discovering Caffe Nero’s frappe lattes and boy are they good. I need them in my life big time.
  • Enjoying a mid-week BBQ at the parentals. Excellent plan – good food and great company.
  • Enjoying rush hour in a rural village – see picture below. Quiet or what?!
  • Getting a horrific lack of sleep thanks to the heat and our annoying loud neighbours.
  • Panic shopping for a wedding outfit after an outfit crisis. Thank goodness for Primark and hello to my brand new turquoise dress. Gorgeous.
  • Having lots of fun on eBay and managed to sell a Primark skirt on there for a small fortune.
  • Gaining a new gorgeous patchwork quilt – see below. Thanks Mum, isn’t she skilled? She makes them by HAND AND WITHOUT A SEWING MACHINE! Wowzers!
  • Packing – eurgh I’ve packed far too much for one week away. Oh well!

Three Plays. Three Reviews.

So as I mentioned here I went to three plays in just one week, yes three. Even I can appreciate that this is slightly excessive. I mean honestly I spent more time in a theatre than I spent awake in my flat. That’s just obscene. In my defence it certainly wasn’t planned like that – it just happened. We booked tickets for The Cripple of Inishmann about six months ago as soon as tickets were available because it starred Daniel Radcliffe – it would have been rude not to. That was on Wednesday night. Then we wanted to take our Dad to see The Hot House with Simon Russel Beale and John Simm for Father’s Day as he’s a massive fan of SRB and the only free night that we could get tickets for was the Monday (as we left it soooo late, oops – must plan better). The final theatre trip was on the Friday to see The Ladykillers and this was very last-minute (tickets were only confirmed on Friday morning) and these were free through work – one of the few and far between perks of my job! So yes a pretty fantastic week of theatre! Below are my mini reviews on each – you definitely have to see every single one of them as they are all absolutely fantastic. All very different but all awesome.

The Hot House – The staging of this play was awesome – they’d split it in to two, and would darken half of it when it wasn’t in use (with the actors still on there). The play itself was random to say the least, but beautifully acted and actually heart-breaking and too realistic at times. As per usual Simon Russell Beale was on fire and the rest of the cast were a revelation too. Well worth a watch.

The Cripple of Inishmann – it was really refreshing to see a play that I couldn’t guess the ending of or one where I didn’t know what was coming next. This unexpectedness was made better by the hilariousness of the play and the absolutely amazing performances by everyone. Daniel Radcliffe was absolutely out-of-this-world and amazing. You actually believed he was an Irish cripple, he was that good. The rest of the cast was just as good and there were some brilliant moments with eggs!

The Ladykillers – The best thing about this was the set, which was completely amazing and contained all sorts of extras that you weren’t aware were there until they used them. The cast was absolutely brilliant and really made the farce aspect of this play work without it being too silly. As for the little old lady in this play she was sensational. She was on stage pretty much the entire time and was just unbelievably good.

I have to say going to the theatre is one if my favourite things about London. I’m so lucky to be near such lovely stuff. Have you seen anything particularly good lately? Any recommendations?

Holiday Packing: The Books

So I’m off to Wales next week and I’m so excited it’s actually ridiculous! I’ve not been for a week away in the UK for I don’t know how long and I cannot wait to just laze on the beach, eat yummy food, spend time with my family and ultimately relax. I’ve been so busy over the last few weeks that I can’t wait to have a week of calmer stuff, I’m so looking forward to it that I don’t even care if the weather is rubbish! After all I can do all of the above things even if I’m stuck inside. I’ve not actually started the packing process yet, because you know that just involves too much thought. But I have started to think about packing certain things, perhaps the most important thing – the books! This is after all an integral part of the trip, so it does involve serious thought! I’ve settled on half and half – so half physical books (some of my heavy hardbacks which are a nightmare on a commute) and half on my kindle. So these are the ‘proper’ books that I’m taking with me.

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Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman – I’ve been meaning to read a Neil Gaiman book for so long as I’ve heard so much good stuff about them and recently I purchased a few of his books online. This is the only one that’s a hardback and heavy so it seems the perfect option for Wales. I really hope it lives up to my high expectations, not just because I’ve got another three books by him at home, but because I want to love his work and appreciate it in the way that so many others do.

Heroes of Olympus: Son of Poseidon, Rick Riordan – I’m a little obsessed with Rick Riordan’s writing and I’m flabbergasted that I haven’t yet read this book – it’s been out for years so I’ve go no excuse!

Six years, Harlan Coben – I love a Harlan Coben story and I picked up his latest when on my way to Dublin a few weeks ago. I’ve not yet read it because it’s a hefty tome and too much weight to be lugging around all day in this heat. But on holiday when I plan on moveing from beach to sofa to bed, it’ll be perfect.

Not Without You, Harriet Evans – Harriet Evans’ books are the perfect beach side reads, so I’ve been saving her latest novel for just this eventuality. Coupled with an ice cream it’ll make the perfect afternoon at the beach even better.

The Enemy, Charlie Higson – This has been on my list forever, so I’m going to tick it off over the holiday…hopefully

As for the Kindle books, what do I have on there I hear you ask? Well to be honest I have 58 unread books on my Kindle – yes seriously. I honestly didn’t realise it was that many – I’m a total book-a-holic clearly. There are a couple of manuscripts that I want to read from work, but there are also some other books on there that need to be read. I think the next ones on my list are:

The Knife of Never Letting Go, Patrick Ness – Another writer that I’ve been meaning to read for ages – I think I bought this book at least a year or go, oops!

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce – This book sounds so good and has received rave reviews, plus I love the sound of her new novel (it’s on my Amazon wishlist for Christmas already) so I need to read this before I get that one.

The Casual Vacancy, J. K. Rowling – I love Harry Potter (no secret there) and so I’m so intrigued to read this novel. It’ll be interesting to read a book by J.K. Rowling which doesn’t include her famous characters and judge her writing on her skill and not get caught up in my love for those characters.

The Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick – Another book I’ve heard loads about – all good – so I figure I should see for myself what all the fuss is about. And I can also visualise Bradley Cooper as I read – perfect!

Something tells me I’ll be busy on this holiday, after all I’ve nine books (and two manuscripts) to read. Bring it on I say! What about you, what have you been reading and do you have any top recommendations?

Theatre trips, the zoo and burgers

Over this last week I’ve barely been in my flat, it’s been absurd. I think I’ve forgotten what it even looks like and let’s not even think about the absolute mess it is in – it’s in desperate need of cleaning (and hoovering)! So as I’ve not been in my flat, what have I been up to I hear you ask? Well there was:

  • The Hot House play at Trafalgar Studios – AMAZING!
  • Drinks and dinner on The Southbank – Wonderland, The Prop Store and Pizza Express – with good friends. Only slightly stressful to organise and to find somewhere to eat…
  • Lunch at the Shake Shack – absolutely scrumptious burger, fries and peanut butter milkshake. The perfect way to spend lunchtime I think!
  • Dinner at Belgo’s before watching The Cripple of Inishmann starring Daniel Radcliffe – absolutely brilliant
  • Work, work and more work. In fact two days involved 10 solid hours of work. Not my favourite thing.
  • An evening run – just over two miles so not THAT bad considering the heat
  • Friday afternoon off – hooray for a bit of sofa time
  • The Ladykillers at the theatre – we were only five rows back. Excellent!
  • A saturday morning run before cake baking – could I be any more domesticated?
  • BBQ time at the parentals to meet the sister’s boyfriend’s parents – they were lovely FYI. BBQ food, sunshine, hammock time, giant garden games and cake: my favourites!
  • London Zoo with the cousins we saw penguins, giraffes, llamas, camels, turtles, fish, a hippo, tigers, gorillas and loads more! Such a lovely day in the sunshine, despite the resulting sunburn.
  • The Diner for good ol’ burgers and chips – yum!
  • Collapsing on the sofa for two hours of TV before sleep.
  • What an exhausting week!

This weekend I will mostly be…

Cooing over cute animals at London Zoo (source)

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Eating BBQ food back in leafy wondrous Surrey

Scoffing American food at The Diner and gossiping with the cousins (source)

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Possibly baking a cake…or two

What will you be up to on this gloriously sunny weekend?

Clothing wish list

This sunny weather has me dreaming of more appropriate clothing. Apparently my wardrobe is severely lacking in the Summer clothes department. I’m not sure how as I’ve spent a small fortune recently, yet somehow it appears to be the case. So of course I’m window shopping online AGAIN, what is wrong with me?! Check out these scrumptious delights, aren’t they all wonderful and wouldn’t they be the perfect additions to my Summer wardrobe. Yes I think so too!

 

Leather Sandals, ASOS – £22.00

Grey Legging Jeans, Gap – £39.95

Grey Jersey Dress, Oasis – £15 (in the sale)

Meadow Floral Dress, Oasis – £65.00

Stripe Tube Skirt, Oasis  £22

Black Tie Sleeve Dress, Dorothy Perkins – £16

Coral Ballet Pumps, New Look – £7.99

Raffia Ballet Pumps, £9.99

Pinterest Corner #28 – Simple Things

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of the lovely magazine The Simple Things. I just love it so much, it’s like an aura of calm descends around me as soon as I sit down to give it a good read. There’s so much lovely stuff in this beautifully designed magazine and I’m constantly amazed at the things I’m being told and shown. I like that they focus on the simple, easy, nice things that make such a difference in our lives. It’s not about the faff and the fuss, it’s about all those little things that are important. They continue this on their Pinterest page where they get others to pin their simple thing. The other day when browsing on there I got a bit carried away and kept exclaiming, oh I love that, or that’s cute. So it made me think about my current simple things and I thought I’d share them with you.

20130716-080916.jpgLilac and mint. This is my new favourite colour combination discovered by happy accident thanks to my nails inc lilac nail varnish and my brand new Forever 21 accessory purchasing. So far I’ve work this colour combination three times in ten days – good work right?!

The sun. It’s out. Hooray! Quick take pretty pictures, drink ice-cold drinks, treat yourself to an ice cream, laze in the garden and dig out the BBQ, say ‘hello again’ to the freckles and slather on the suncream. Before it goes we must make the most of it – it’s our duty as Brits!

Gooseberry Jam. My parents make the best gooseberry jam and I’m very lucky that they’ve just delivered a new batch of it to our flat. So far I’m halfway through jar number one and it’s at it’s best when accompanied with Jacob’s Crackers and a very sticky brie. Yumalicious!

Rich Tea biscuits. We rediscovered these recently and I’ve realised how underrated these lovely simple biscuits are. They are the perfect accompaniment to all hot drinks and when you’re in need of something sweet they really hit the spot. Plus I’m able to eat ten in one go and I feel no guilt – brilliant!

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Evening strolls around Clapham Common. Unbeatable on a Summer’s evening if you ask me. It’s the perfect way to do some exercise so you don’t feel guilty about the upcoming Rich Tea consumption but it doesn’t exhaust you and you can have a good old natter and a nosey at the cricketers/picnickers/runners frequenting the common at the same time. Blissful

What are your simple things?

Powder paint, a wedding and an epic BBQ

Amazing!

Amazing!

This week has been brilliant and full of lots of fun times, things like:

  • An evening stroll
  • 2.4 mile run in 30° heat (no idea how I survived that!)
  • Free tickets to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – thanks work! It was just as brilliant a second time and our seats were awesome too.
  • A picnic in the park with lovely friends and new acquaintances – I do love this sunshine that’s arrived.
  • Zero lie-ins (Okay so not such a brilliant thing!)
  • An epic BBQ back at the parentals, I provided one of five (!) puddings plus we had three chickens and all that meat for 15 of us. Like I said, epic!!
  • Sneaky snacks on the bus. Sometimes after a dreadful day at work you have to give in to the peanut m&m’s craving.
  • Saturday saw me heading to the back of beyond,okay North London, for a friend’s wedding. It was absolutely beautiful, they make such a cute couple and everything was so lovely. There was also penny sweets including Percy Pigs – genius!
  • Multiple iced mochas. Delicious.
  • The Color Run! This is a 5k that you run and at each kilometre you get pelted with powder paint. Such fun!! And great to run around Wembley Stadium too!Wwhat wasn’t so great was the heat, bleurgh!
  • TV time: Castle, How I met your Mother and m&m’s. Perfect.
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