Boredom has struck – 30 day song challenge (sort of)

So yeah it’s the holidays and I was just browsing through Facebook and found my old 30 day challenge that I did way back in 2011. I didn’t finish it, too much effort to post it everyday, but I did complete the challenge in advance in a word document. I cringed a bit when reading some of the answers I’d put. How my music tastes have changed! So I thought I’d do a similar thing for the blog seeing as I’m a bit bored and can’t be bothered to sort out my room at the moment.

Day 01 – your favorite song – ‘Change Your Life’ Little Mix – the lyrics are brilliant and I always sing along when I can (it’s in my gym playlist so I can’t always belt it out)

Day 02 – your least favorite song – ‘Bassline Junkie’ Dizzee Rascal – he just bugs me

Day 03 – a song that makes you happy – ‘Pompeii’ Bastille – the harmonies always bring a smile to my face

Day 04 – a song that makes you sad – ‘Nicest Thing’ Kate Nash – this one hasn’t changed, it’s simply beautiful

Day 05 – a song that reminds you of someone – ‘Payphone’ Maroon 5 – it’s my ringtone for whenever my mum rings me because she sang it all the time when it first came out

Day 06 – a song that reminds you of somewhere – ‘Popular’ From Wicked the musical – I saw this in Sydney, Australia, when I visited my Auntie and we played the soundtrack constantly but this song was our favourite

Day 07 – a song that reminds you of a certain event – ‘Masquerade’ From The Phantom of the Opera – it was in Gang Show one year and since then I only ever here ‘FACCCES’ and ‘Microwave, electronic cooking slave!’ it’s one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments

Day 08 – a song that you know all the words to – ‘Rainbow High’ Evita – another of the originals and I still love this song

Day 09 – a song that you can dance to – ‘Locked Out of Heaven’ Bruno Mars – the hip rolls he does in the video

Day 10 – a song that makes you fall asleep – ‘Adiemus’ Adiemus – I work through a selection of relaxing music on my iPod but this is one of my favourites

Day 11 – a song from your favorite band – ‘Madhouse’ Little Mix – another of my favourites

Day 12 – a song from a band you hate – ‘We Are Young’ FUN – they just irritate me and I don’t think this song helped

Day 13 – a song that is a guilty pleasure – ‘Running Up That Hill’ Kate Bush – another gym hit for me

Day 14 – a song that no one would expect you to love – ‘212′ Azealia Banks – I love it on a night out

Day 15 – a song that describes you – ‘Last One Standing’ Cheryl – the lyrics say it all and sum up this past year and bit quite nicely

Day 16 – a song that you used to love but now hate – ‘Try’ Pink – it was played far too often everywhere I went

Day 17 – a song that you hear often on the radio – ‘Buffalo Stance’  Neneh Chery – without fail it will be on Heat radio at some point in the evening and it always cracks me up

Day 18 – a song that you wish you heard on the radio – ‘Like a Robot’ Aqua – it’s just fantastic but not really suitable for the radio

Day 19 – a song from your favorite album – ‘Lovestoned-I Think She Knows’ Justin Timberlake – it’s still one of my favourite albums

Day 20 – a song that you listen to when you’re angry – ‘Agony’ Paloma Faith – it’s another belter and good for pounding the gym with

Day 21 – a song that you listen to when you’re happy – ‘Take Me on the Floor’ The Veronicas – a feel good confidence boost

Day 22 – a song that you listen to when you’re sad – ‘Girl in the Mirror’ Cheryl -heartfelt but motivating

Day 23 – a song that you want to play at your wedding – ‘The Real Thing’ Gwen Stefani – another original as nothing yet has beat but then again I’ve not met the guy I’ll marry so we’ll wait and see

Day 24 – a song that you want to play at your funeral – ‘Hometown Glory’ Adele – the piano part and the lyrics make it and it seems fitting

Day 25 – a song that makes you laugh – ‘Mr Blue Sky’ ELO – this hasn’t changed because of the memories that are still getting attached to the song

Day 26 – a song that you can play on an instrument – ‘Antique Suite Prelude’ John Rutter – it’s a fantastic but difficult piece that I was so chuffed with playing in my final school concert

Day 27 – a song that you wish you could play – ‘Comptine d’un autre été: L’après midi’ From Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amelie Poulain – I first heard it on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ where the routine was fantastic and I simply love the music

Day 28 – a song that makes you feel guilty – ‘Always Be Together’ Little Mix – it’s probably the nearest to guilt I’ve felt as in a smidge

Day 29 – a song from your childhood – ‘Love Ain’t Gonna Wait For You’ S Club – I still love the song but they were my all time favourite as a kid

Day 30 – your favorite song at this time last year – ‘Get Ready, Get Set’ The Saturdays – truthfully I can barely remember as it changed that often but I played the album pretty constantly and I still love this song.

And now I have to go prep tea as we’re out for my aunt’s 60th tonight.

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The sun has got it’s hat on!

Yesterday was terrible weather, very foggy in Northumberland, but I had a fantastic day out with my dad visiting various family members. We went to Barter Books which was a first for me.  It’s an old train station which has been converted into a bookshop. Bookworm heaven. Again if anyone is in Alnwick I highly recommend a visit. From there we went to visit my Auntie Margret and her husband. I’ve not seen them since Christmas so it was brilliant to have a proper catch up with them, exchanging books and recipes. We then went to visit another Aunt and Uncle. While we were at Auntie Christine’s, my cousin Holly who lives in Ireland arrived with her dog. I last saw her in June so it was lovely to spend time together.

This morning it was a fantastic surprise to see the sun shining. It made my bike ride to my grandparents even more pleasant. Although I had to laugh at the amount of topless guys wandering around. There really is no need here – it was only 19º! Or at least it was on the way there. When I cycled back, the temperature has significantly dropped and the clouds were blocking the sun so I peddled harder to try and stay warm! Such a lovely ride though. I used the Endomondo app on my phone alongside my heart rate monitor to record my workout and I would highly recommend the app as it tracks your route fairly accurately through GPS, although I always use the results from my HRM for calorie burn etc as it is a bit more reliable.

Endomondo results from part of my cycle The return trip

Living up to that female stereotype!

Before any feminists out there get too defensive, I simply spent the day catching up with my mum doing some shopping, housework and baking. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first full day back home.

This morning we went around doing various bits of shopping, mostly household stuff but we did pop into the Silverlink and browsed New Look. I say browse. We ended up with an armful of clothes each as we found the sale area, which was for once full with stuff in our sizes! Many item try-ons later and we now own some more lovely clothes. I’ll have to be ruthless tomorrow when I’m unpacking everything intro my wardrobe!
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When we got home we began with our first baking task – making a lemon cake for my aunt’s 60th birthday. The cake mixture and filling were delicious (of course I got to lick the bowl) so fingers crossed it goes down well. We intend to finish decorating it over the next few days.

We also made two sets of ciabatta bread. The first we made into bread buns and the second we split into three and used them as pizza bases. The pizzas were topped with a tomato and mixed veg sauce, pepperoni and cheese. Absolutely scrumptious!

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Throughout the day we’ve also done a fait bit of housework – cleaning the kitchen and several set of laundry. As I type this (once more on my phone) I’m sitting in the hairdressers. I’ve just got my hair cut into a proper pixie crop very similar to Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White in Once Upon A Time). I might post a picture of it tomorrow alongside the recipe to the pizzas if anyone requests them. I’m still getting use to my hair – I’ve had it very short for nearly a year but part of me thinks I may have gone too short this time. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow!

Homeward bound

I’m currently writing this on my phone as I travel from Liverpool to my connection train in York. I don’t have the best of luck with trains from Liverpool but so far so good.

The past few days have been spent packing and socialising. The guide sleepover on Friday went surprisingly well – it was in the Catalyst Museum and the views from the top where the girls slept were fantastic! Everyone seemed to really enjoy it and I can recommend the museum to those in the area with an interest in science. I’m not a huge fan of it myself (science was one of my least favourite subjects back in high school) but the two workshops we did were very interesting and easy to understand.

Saturday night was spent with the housemates watching The Voice UK and I had my very first solo take away. Sounds pathetic but I rarely order in and only ever with others, but that day I decided I really wanted Char Sui Pork from Manna and seeing as no one else was in at the time, I did the single girl thing and got it. I say ‘the single girl’ because it seems to always occur in the books I read that ordering chinese for one is the done thing. Regardles of all that it was a lovely treat which I had definitely earned!

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Sunday was a bit of a mixed day to be honest. I went into town for a Costa with a friend, but things backfired a bit and it wasn’t the most comfortable of meetings I’ve ever been in. I think everything is sorted out now, miscommunication and all that, but only time and patience will tell. We did go to see the Battle of the Atlantic celebrations down on the Docks which was decent enough. The weather certainly helped – glorious sunshine with barely a cloud in sight! We just looked at the boats because I couldn’t be bothered to stand in a queue for ages to go on the boats. Pictures were more than enough for me. I spent most of the day packing for moving out via the trains and it wasn’t pretty. I must have packed and unpacked those cases at least five times before they could close properly! One thing you learn quickly in Guiding is how to pack. That evening as a house we met up with one of our old housemates from last year for cocktails. In was a fantastic night out and a brilliant way to conclude a fairly hectic year!

This morning was a mad dash to finish packing and prepare my room for being left for a couple of months. I taxied to the station because there was no way I was struggling on the bus with two cases, a rucksack and a handbag. Manoeuvring around the station and bathroom was entertaining but everything is on board and we’ll see how the rest of the journey goes. We better not be delayed as we’ve been sat at Leeds a while now…

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Room 101

This is just a quickie before I commit myself to a potential sleepless night at guide sleepover. One of my favourite shows is Room 101 and there’s quite a few things I would chuck in there if I had the chance. Here’s just a few of life’s little things that bug me:

Bad etiquette on public transport – feet on seats, taking the aisle seat for no apparent reason, impossibly loud music (especially through headphones) and bad language. All these things occcur regularly on public transport – be it the bus, train or metro – and they all bug me. It’s just common respect and some people seem to be severely lacking.

Mistreating books – it breaks my heart when people deliberately bend the cover all the way round. Dog-earring books or turning the pages down. There’s no need! Let’s just say I’m sensitive about books.

Leggings as trousers – especially when they’re see-through. It’s just not pretty. Also there are some people who should be cautious with which type and how they wear them.

That’s just some of them for now. Plenty of things irritate me and if you keep reading this blog, you’ll likely find out more of them.

DIY Summer – Beginners floral nail art

Now that uni is all finished, I’ve kind of found myself twiddling my thumbs a little. Don’t get me wrong, I have been pretty busy, but yesterday was the first day I only had a few things planned. So I decided to get creative and decorate my nails in a summery manner because the weather lately has plummeted. Clearly this bank holiday isn’t going to be as glorious as the last! I apologise in advance about the state of my nails/decoration – I prefer having short nails as mine split quite often (any suggestions on how to stop/minimise this would be greatly welcomed) and it’s safe to say I’m not an artist. Either way, enjoy and get colourful!

First off I did a basic base coat. Golden rule that everyone should know – always use a good base coat before you decorate. It minimises the discolouring that some nail polishes can cause (nobody likes off-yellow nails). I generally use one which also strengthens the nail as mine tend to snap/flake quite easily, so I can highly recommend OPI Nail Envy or my latest cheap buy, which is surprisingly good, Rimmel Stronger.

Rimmel Stronger base coat x2

Once dry, I then used two coats of MUA Pistachio Ice Cream nail polish. This polish was another cheap impulse buy and the colour is lovely, although I’d describe it more as mint ice cream, but still ideal for summer! I hadn’t intended to use two coats as I find the more layers of polish on the nail, the more likely it is to flake or chip and there’s nothing more irritating than chipping a nail. However, two coats were needed as after the first coat, I felt the colour looked a bit watery and streaky from the brush marks. This may just be my shoddy technique of applying polish but either way, I would recommend two coats as it makes the colour richer.

MUA Pistachio Ice Cream one coat MUA second coat

Next came the tricky part (for me at least); deciding what decoration to do on the nails and if I was going to just do a signature nail or all of them. Originally I was just going to do the one nail as the thought of decorating all of my left hand (I’m left-handed) was a bit iffy. I decided I wanted to decorate my nails with delicate pink flowers. When you see the final look, you’ll see that it ended up more like a large pink sunflower type (I don’t know the name of the specific flower and google couldn’t help so that’s the best description I can give!). So first off I did the little white dots with a Barry M nail pen in white. This was the first time I’ve ever used a nail pen and it’s safe to say it was a little hit and miss. Purely because I’m a little clumsy but once I managed to get the polish into the nib, I found it really easy to paint little dots all over my nails. This was when I decided, what the heck, I’ll do all ten and just hope for the best! The pens are much easier and neater than using dotting tools, which was about the height of my abilities previously. So yeah here’s the little dots.

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I then kinda went a little nuts with the pink nail pen (another Barry M one). To be honest, I’d just let your creative juices flow and see what happens. I learnt as I went along each nail, hence why miraculously my left hand looks slightly better than the right. To make these pink daisy-like flowers, draw lots of little lines out of the white dots (but leave some of the dot visible otherwise it’ll look like a star, there’s a couple of them mixed amongst the flowers!) until the dot is surrounded with lines. This ‘technique’ (if it deserves this label) doesn’t require a great deal of skill (as you can see) but the overall effect is quite pretty and I’m sure after a bit more practice, the flowers will look even better! I would definitely recommend trying something simple for your first attempt with nail pens and I think this is ideal as it took next to no time, it’s ridiculously simple and fairly eye-catching. Summer in a few simple strokes.

Right hand Barry M pink nail pen Left hand

Update: The nails have mostly survived the night, bar my one horrendously snapped nail which chips fairly easily. I’ve had quite a few complements and the most likes yet on one of my instagram pictures, so I definitely think I’ll be redoing this look and using all the nail paints etc again.

Two-thirds completed. Eek!

So as of 4pm yesterday, I have completed all of my second year uni work. Now to just wait for the results and crack on with everything else on my to-do list! Oh and possibly gain a social life?

This past week has really been about putting my head down and cracking on with my revision. I was fortunate to only have one exam, and it was in history rather than theology thankfully, so it didn’t feel too much of a chore. Mind, by the time of the exam I was sick of Mathew Hopkins and Salem. Fingers crossed I’ve done well enough. Either way I did my best and that’s all that matters.

That was the last exam for my friends as well, so to celebrate we had originally intended to go out on the town, but due to financial concerns (we are students after all) we opted for a meal in town. However, one friend was unable to join us so the two of us went to Pizza Express as I had a voucher. The meal was lovely and the evening was really enjoyable. We’ve arranged to go for tea tomorrow at the original destination with everyone as a final goodbye to second year.

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I feel almost like I should be twiddling my thumbs as I’m not use to not having to work towards something. Admittedly I am considering the topic for my dissertation, so I’m not completely workless. But still. It’s a couple of gears down from what I’ve been working at. Every morning I’m going to the gym as I might as well make the most of it, and then I have my usual commitments. For the next couple of evenings, I won’t be cooking either as I’m being a social butterfly (as much as I can be). Tonight I went for a lovely meal and general chit chat with some of the girls from Oxfam at one of the restaurants down the road. Thursday I’m going to a house party and Friday is the guide sleepover. I’ve got a few other commitments to attend as well and then it’s so long Liverpool until September. Sob. I certainly never thought I’d get as attached to my temporary home as I have. I know I’m going to be an emotional mess this time next year. But let’s not talk about that. The furthest I’m looking ahead is my dissertation and PGCE applications. Everything else is being put on a back burner for a bit.