Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Film | The Worst Film of 2014

Yesterday I wrote about my Top 10 Films of 2014, and today it's the turn of the worst!

Having seen over 100 films this year there were bound to be some pretty poor ones, but I actually found it really hard to choose a film that was so bad I couldn't even lump it in the 'so-bad-it's-good' category. Until I saw the film I'm going to tell you about... so read on to find out what I believe to be the Worst Film of 2014...
Released in 1994, Dumb & Dumber is a film that, even if you've never seen it, you're aware of. Any hapless duo since has had the moniker bestowed upon them (hell, I ask my dogs which of them is 'dumb' and which is 'dumber' on an almost daily basis!) The film, starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, helped launch the careers of the Farrelly brothers who went on to produce and direct some of the most memorable 'comedy' films of the last 20 years (Shallow Hal, Me, Myself and Irene and There's Something About Mary to name a few!) The brothers were also responsible for one of the worst films of 2013, Movie 43. So, love them or hate them, the Farrelly's have a unique style that appeals to a specific audience.

Fast forward 20 years and for some reason best known to them, the Farrelly's made a sequel. Dumb & Dumber To. Yes, 'to'. Kerching! That's the sound of the film taking over $38 million on its opening weekend and $129 million worldwide as of December 2014.

The film itself sees the original stars reprieve their roles as Harry (Daniels) and Lloyd (Carrey), a pair of dim-witted fools who set out on an adventure to find Harry's daughter so that she can give him a kidney. You can watch the 'hilarious trailer below...

Why didn't I like the film? Ah. The million dollar question. I loathed the casual racism (it turns out Harry was adopted by a Chinese couple, which of course led to ten minutes of "me so sowee" style jokes... it's 2014, this isn't cool!) The portrayal of women in the film was typical of the Farrelly brothers ("the dumb pretty one", "the one who was pretty in high school but is now fat and ugly and the pair wouldn't touch her with a barge pole", "the uptight British woman who just needs a good seeing to"... and so on). The best 'jokes' were in the trailer, which says a lot since they weren't at all funny.

Dumb & Dumber To, at just over 2 hours long, was more like Dull & Duller. The film was understandably crude; after all we've come to expect nothing less from the Farrelly's, but watching two grown men in their 50s engaging in a battle of the 'fart game' whilst driving a hearse across country is really not my thing. Add in some rehashed jokes and some actors who really ought to know better (I'm looking at you, Kathleen Turner!) and this film was just a bore fest from start to finish!

Honourable mentions for Worst Film of 2014:

Here are some other films that I really didn't rate over the past 12 months.

Mr Turner was released to critical acclaim but for some reason I hated every minute of it! By the end I never wanted to see another Turner painting again and if I never see Timothy Spall in another film again it'll be too soon. I don't care if it makes me a philistine, I hated it!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ruined all childhood memories of sitting watching the cartoon before school with my brother in the 80s. I can't even pinpoint why I hated it so much, I just did!

Life After Beth, a comedy horror about a girl who comes back from the dead as a zombie could have been absolutely brilliant, but it just fell flat. I don't know if it was because I felt Beth was miscast or because the genre of the film missed the mark, but I found it disappointingly boring.

The Giver was a snore fest from start to finish. Too much like every other teen post-apocalyptic film in every sense, it just didn't capture my heart or imagination. Sorry.

Noah. I can't stand Russell Crowe. End of.

I, Frankenstein. Made no sense. YAWN!

What films have disappointed you this year? What were your favourites? You can read about my favourites here!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Film | Top 10 Films of 2014

One of my favourite past times is going to the cinema. I've had a Cineworld Unlimited card for three years now. In short I pay £16.40 a month and I can go to the cinema to see as many films as I like as often as I like. I also get 25% off snacks and drinks too, which hasn't helped my waistline! This year I've seen 107 films at the cinema. I have a very varied taste and like foreign films and art-house releases as well as Hollywood blockbusters. I think that's more than enough preamble, so let's get on with my 'Top 10 films of 2014' (in order of date released)!

American Hustle stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams as two con artists forced to help an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) take down corrupt politicians. The film is set in the 1970s and also stars Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Lawrence. Whilst the film received a number of awards including three Golden Globes, a BAFTA and a Screen Actor's Guild Award, it didn't take home any of the ten Academy Awards it was nominated for! Ouch! This film had an amazing cast all of whom were outstanding in their roles. The script was top notch with memorable dialogue ("we fight and then we f*ck, that's our thing") and a captivating plot. I didn't see the plot "twist" which is always a good indicator of a great film for me. The outfits worn in the film and the funky soundtrack mean this film was always destined to make my top 10 of the year come December.

The Wolf of Wall Street probably needs no introduction. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio in one of his most memorable roles to date, this is a Scorsese film with a difference - it's bloody funny! Lasting a whopping 180 minutes, this film tells the story of Jordan Belfort and his rise to fame as a wealthy stock broker in the 80s, as well as his fall from grace thanks to corruption and drugs...lots of drugs. The supporting cast includes Jonah Hill and Aussie Margot Robbie (last seen in About Time). Whilst some people denounce this film as a glorification of drugs, debauchery and criminal activity I see it as more of a warning to those who revel in excess. It's based on a real story and although DiCaprio won Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) at the Golden Globes he failed to win the Academy Award. What does this man have to do to win? It's like they've never forgiven him for Titanic. He has proved over and over that he is one of our generation's best actors but I'm beginning to think the best he can hope for is a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2052...

The Lego Movie made me smile, laugh and even want to singalong! Yes, the theme tune to this film, "Everything is Awesome", was so catchy that I was singing it for weeks. My husband used to put it on YouTube so we could have our daily dose of AWESOME! The film is rather silly but pays homage to everything Lego related right through the decades. I know a lot of people hated this film, but upon interrogation I determined it was because they had a terrible childhood devoid of Lego. Poor things! If you haven't seen this film but was a devoted fan of the little coloured bricks as a child then I've no doubt you'll find this film downright awesome (I saw it twice, a rarity for me!)

Labor Day is a romantic drama set in the late 80s and stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brogan. It's about a runaway convict who forces a single mother to offer him shelter from the law whilst he heals from an injury sustained during escape. A romantic bond grows between the two protagonists and the rest, as they say, is history. Now I'm not one for romantic movies, in fact romcoms are my least favourite genre of film behind horror (cue gasps from the majority of readers!) but this film was something more - it was heartfelt and tender and it portrayed the kind of forbidden, passionate love that seems almost realistic. One of my favourite lines from the movie sums it up quite nicely for me: "They were two people who couldn't go out into the world so they made a world with each other." It was directed by Jason Reitman of Juno and Up In The Air fame and he's fast becoming one of my favourite directors.

The Raid 2 is, you'll be shocked to hear, the sequel to The Raid. It's an Indonesian film about an undercover cop sent to infiltrate and take down a crime syndicate. Unlike The Raid it's successor has quite a complex plot which I personally found refreshing. Like The Raid it's pretty much one non-stop action packed testosterone fuelled martial arts battle. Watching this film was exhausting but the cinematography is just breathtaking and exceptionally creative. It isn't for the faint hearted; there is a lot of blood and violence but it isn't tense violence like you would get in a horror film. If you can handle The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones style violence then I'm sure you wouldn't find this any less distasteful!

The Edge of Tomorrow is a science fiction film starring Tom Cruise as Major William Cage, an inexperienced military PR officer who finds himself on the front line in a war against an invading alien force. Despite dying in battle Cage finds himself resurrected and living the same day over and over. With the help of a Special Forces soldier, Rita Vrataski (played by Emily Blunt), Cage must train hard to help Earth win the war against extinction. The film does have a bit of 'Groundhog Day' about it but the way it's filmed and the way in which the main character lives the same day over and over is cleverly done so that the boredom never sets in. I love an action adventure and this one certainly didn't disappoint, with the special effects bang on and an amazing performance from Emily Blunt, this was a standout for me in 2014.

The Guest is a difficult film to describe without giving away the best parts of the plot! The film features Dan Stevens (apparently of Downton Abbey fame, but I've never seen it!) as David, a former soldier who drops in on a grieving family, claiming to be a long time friend of their dead son, a soldier in Afghanistan. David stays with the family, befriending them and helping them out around the house. He even befriends the father and son for whom life starts to improve. I don't want to say too much more but suffice to say David isn't what he seems and things take a dramatic turn. The soundtrack to this film is amazing and everything about it pays homage to some of the greatest films of the 80s. A must see!

Pride tells the story of a group of lesbian and gay activists who set about to raise money for a small mining community in Wales during the Miners' Strike in 1984. Seeing both miners and gays as victims of Thatcher's bullying of minority groups, the main protagonist, Mark Ashton (brilliantly played by Ben Schnetzer) bridges the gap between two very different groups of oppressed people. Based on true events, the story is emotional but uplifting and it was one of the few films of the year that left me with the 'feel good factor' for quite some time!

Gone Girl, based on the book of the same name (which I've never read, oops!) is a psychological thriller about Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) whose wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) goes missing in mysterious circumstances. Nick is soon viewed with suspicion and becomes the number one suspect in her murder, despite the lack of a body. The story of their marriage is told in flashbacks which works very well to build suspicion in the audience's mind. Affleck and Pike give amazing performances and I hope that come awards season this film isn't left out of the running!

Nighcrawler starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a sociopathic petty thief turned wannabe reporter is a tense thriller showcasing the darker side of contemporary American journalism. The film chronicles Lou Bloom's rise to infamy as he responds to and videos crimes using nothing more than a camcorder and a handheld radio scanner. This film was entertaining, gripping and thought-provoking, whilst Gyllenhaal's performance was nothing short of Oscar worthy!

I know that was a long one - sorry about that! What were your favourite films of 2014? What are you looking forward to seeing in the new year?

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Days Out | Discovery Museum Newcastle

I'd been meaning to visit the Discovery Museum in Newcastle for quite a while and earlier this month, on a cold and rainy day, I finally managed to spend a leisurely Sunday afternoon wandering around an impressive array of collections and exhibits in this iconic Newcastle building.  

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

40 by 40 | Update - Visit to Edinburgh Zoo

In October I published my 40 by 40 list, which is a list of weird and wonderful things I'd like to do/see/visit by the time the big 4-0 rolls around. You can read the full list here (then come back and tell me that baking a souffle is neither weird nor wonderful!) At the end of November I managed to check off #27 - Visit Edinburgh Zoo.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Christmas Wish List

I'm a blogger and if there's one thing I've learnt over the last year it's that bloggers like lists. And stuff. And making lists of stuff they want (mostly things that are out of our price range!) So without further ado, let me introduce you to my Christmas Wish List!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

My Favourite Quotes #3

Revenge. I'm sure you've all heard a lot about it - apparently it's sweet and best served cold (sounds like a really great chocolate mousse to me!) I've discovered over the years that I can be quite vengeful and it's a part of me I really don't like.  So, whenever I feel like cleaning the toilet with someone's toothbrush I try to remember the following quote (which has been attributed to many people over the years but I first became aware of it when Midtown used it as an album title):

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Review | Rodial Dragon's Blood Eye Gel

I've been using Dragon's Blood Eye Gel from Rodial for six months now and I can sense the end of the pot is nigh. I think six months is long enough to determine if it's any good, so read on for my honest review!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Christmas International Beauty Box Swap 2014

I love nothing better than putting together a box of goodies for someone else, so if you're like me and fancy taking part in a Christmas Box Swap  then head on over to Fatbeautyx for more information.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Giveaway | 1st Birthday MAC Giveaway! (ENDED)

Thirty Something OAP is one this month, and to celebrate I'm having a giveaway!


First things first - let's have a quick look back over the last year!

Saturday, 15 November 2014

My Favourite Quotes #2

As a teenager I was a big fish in a small pond. I don't mean that I was popular - far from it. I was, however, academic, so the teachers loved me. They even overlooked my blatant disregard for the school uniform policy ("no, no Sir, this skirt is definitely only 2 inches above the knee!") As a teenager I thought that I'd always be free to be who I wanted to be but as soon as adulthood hit I realised that sometimes people just don't "get" me and no matter how hard I pretended not to care, it was always a little bit saddening to learn that someone didn't appreciate my unique sense of humour (it's so dry that it makes the Atacama Desert look like Niagara falls).

That's why I find this quote from Marianne Williamson (a new-age self-help guru) so inspiring:

"There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you."

In short I think it means that if you're good at something then don't hide it. Learn to love what you are good at and appreciate all that you have to offer - don't sit back and let life pass you by because you're afraid that other people will feel insignificant. Of course this comes with a side warning - don't forget to be thankful!

How would you interpret this quote? Do you think that we should all be more assertive or are there occasions when we really should sit back for fear of offending or upsetting others?

Related: My Favourite Quotes #1

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Wednesday Whine | Live Music #3

I love live music; there's just something about seeing a live band that brings their music to life. Being surrounded by people who all share a similar passion really excites me and I'll happily watch bands in all kinds of venues from stadiums to the back room of a dingy pub.

Having said that, in the past few years the experience of seeing live music has changed massively and in the next few editions of Wednesday Whine I'm going to tell you how.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

My Favourite Quotes #1

I love to write. I'm not saying I'm particularly good at it but it makes me happy, which would explain why I plough on with this blogging malarkey when I've got a hundred and one other things I should be doing. That is why this quote from Henry Rollins (from punk band Black Flag but also a poet, actor, activist... you name it, he'll do it!) is so poignant for me:

“If I lose the light of the sun, I will write by candlelight, moonlight, no light. If I lose paper and ink, I will write in blood on forgotten walls. I will write always. I will capture nights all over the world and bring them to you” 

What image does this conjure for you? For some reason it resonates on a personal level but it also makes me think about human oppression and how for some people just receiving a letter can change their whole outlook and give them hope.

Amnesty's Individuals at Risk campaign strives to protect those directly experiencing human rights abuses. You can find out more and get involved here. Your love of writing might just help someone.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Wednesday Whine | Live Music #2

I love live music; there's just something about seeing a live band that brings their music to life. Being surrounded by people who all share a similar passion really excites me and I'll happily watch bands in all kinds of venues from stadiums to the back room of a dingy pub.

Having said that, in the past few years the experience of seeing live music has changed massively and in the next few editions of Wednesday Whine I'm going to tell you how.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Review | LOLA Makeup by Perse Colour Intense Liquid Lipstick

It isn't often that I enter competitions on Facebook or Twitter but when I saw that LOLA were giving away their new liquid lipsticks I thought I'd give it a go. I was lucky enough to win one of their Colour Intense Liquid Lipsticks in shade 004 (catchy...)

LOLA Makeup by Perse is available exclusively in Marks & Spencer stores. It's a range that I don't know a lot about aside from that they're a British brand created for professional makeup artists. I've been using their liquid foundation in shade 030 (fair) for the past year and I'd go as far as to say it's my Holy Grail foundation for daytime. I always browse the LOLA stand when I'm in M&S but to date still only own the foundation, and now this lipstick.

LOLA describe the lipstick thus:

This semi-matte, full coverage, creamy liquid lipstick is a real treat for the lips! Strong pigments deliver rich indulgent colour with staying power. Thanks to sunflower seed wax and a blend of oils, the formula is extremely smooth upon application and feels soft on the lips, creating a gloss that dries quickly but doesn’t leave your lips feeling dry and chapped. Added vitamin E helps to neutralise free radical damage and the built-in brush applicator ensures a flawless application.

Sounds great, right? Well, I'm not going to beat around the bush with this review - you can stop reading after this sentence if you like because I'm going to sum it up for you now: I didn't like it.

I love the packaging - it looks sleek and sophisticated. That's where my love affair ends I'm afraid. I don't want to be harsh because I won this, but I'm sure glad I didn't pay £12.00 for it in store.

The colour that I won (the imaginatively titled shade 004) was an instant disappointment. I do not suit pale pink. It is very nearly the same colour as my lips so I may as well not wear it anyway. However, you could definitely tell I had something on my lips, which brings me on to my next point...

The liquid lipstick formula is quite thick and when I applied it it left streaks on my lips instead of a smooth look. I exfoliate and use lip balms so my lips were not chapped and didn't have any dry patches but the lipstick seems to collect in clumps on my lower lip. It accentuated all the fine lines on my lips which is something I've never experienced with a lip product.

Not only did the lipstick look streaky but it instantly attached itself to my teeth and wouldn't budge without a hefty scrub (a quick tongue flick didn't shift it!) I've never ever worn a lipstick that ended up on my teeth. Perhaps that's a side effect of a liquid lippie?!

I can't comment on the wear time because I took it off. Sure, the lipstick was quick drying but it also made my lips feel tight.

All in all I wanted to adore this lipstick because I love the LOLA foundation that I use, and I don't think this item is indicative of the rest of the range but I'm not used to this type of lip product and it isn't for me. I think I'll pass on the liquid lipstick craze and stick to traditional lippies in future.

Have you tried anything from this range, or other liquid lipsticks? What did you think? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Wednesday Whine | Live Music #1

I love live music; there's just something about seeing a live band that brings their music to life. Being surrounded by people who all share a similar passion really excites me and I'll happily watch bands in all kinds of venues from stadiums to the back room of a dingy pub.

Having said that, in the past few years the experience of seeing live music has changed massively and in the next few editions of Wednesday Whine I'm going to tell you how.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Shopping | 1/3 off at Escentual

Every so often online beauty retailer Escentual has a "1/3 off French Pharmacy brands" sale and there's no better time to stock up on all your favourites! Brands include La Roche-Posay, Bioderma, Vichy and Nuxe.

The French Pharmacy sale is always an excuse to stock up on some of my favourites and to try out some new things from the ranges I love.

This time around I decided to try some new items from La Roche-Posay. With Boots having a 3 for 2 on all skincare offer it was only recently that I stocked up on my usual items from this range (such as the famous Effalar Duo +) but I can't seem to let a sale or deal bypass me for fear I'll miss out (I'm an advertisers dream, aren't I?!)

Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel 200ml
RRP: £11.50 Sale price: £7.66
I've been using a lot of oil based cleansers of late because I've received them as samples in various beauty boxes and they're not helping my oily t-zone one bit. This foaming gel is designed for oily, sensitive skin so it's perfect for me. I hope...
Effaclar Mat 40ml
RRP: £14.50 Sale price: £9.66

I normally use their Rosaliac UV Legre moisturiser which is perfect for my red cheeks but it's a little rich for my t-zone, so hopefully using this on my problem areas will sort that.

Physiological Soothing Toner 200ml
RRP: £12.00 Sale price: £8.00

I've got really sensitive skin that's prone to rosacea so need a gentle toner that isn't astringent. This seems to check all the boxes!

I also treated myself to a new Nuxe Reve de Miel Honey Lip Balm (15g) because it's my favourite lip balm. I usually put it on overnight as a mask and I love the smell, the texture and how it makes my lips feel when I wake up! My lips take a battering thanks to a new found obsession with lipstick so this has been used every night lately. The RRP is £9.50 and it's currently £6.33 in the sale. This is a 20th anniversary limited edition pot with a green lid.

The Escentual French Pharmacy sale continues until the end of October so there's a week left to stock up. Do you use any of these products or will you be splashing out on some new beauty products at Escentual? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Wednesday Whine | LUSH Cosmetics

Never one to shy away from controversy (see 'five products I just don't rate', for example!) I've decided to come out and declare to the world just how much I loathe LUSH. Now, before you start throwing things at me, hear me out...

I know LUSH is a favourite amongst my fellow bloggers so I'm taking a huge risk in making this post. I've made quite a few friends in the blogging community of late and I know a lot of them are LUSH addicts. I'm sure one of them even works in LUSH (sorry!)

Why do I hate LUSH so much? Do I really hate LUSH?! How could I possibly hate LUSH?!?

Well... read on to find out!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

40 by 40 - an alternative bucket list

We've all heard of a bucket list, right? It's essentially a list of things you want to do before you die. I'm hoping that day is a very long way off, so I've come up with a more medium term list - 40 by 40.

It's simple really - I've made a lift of 40 things I've always wanted to do / experience / have and I hope to complete the list by the time I'm 40. That gives me until 11 August 2023. I'd better get cracking then...

It was quite difficult at first to think of 40 things. I wanted to include a list of easily achievable things and things that would stretch me a little. When I asked my friends for suggestions they came up with things that weren't really 'me' and a list of exciting things I've already done (which made me very lucky!)

Without further ado, here is my 40 by 40 list:
1.    Have a drum lesson
2.    Fly in a hot air balloon
3.    Go on a cruise
4.    Ride in a sports car with the top down
5.    Visit the Royal Opera House
6.    Milk a cow
7.    Have a vegetable patch / garden
8.    Climb Scarfell Pike
9.    Go skinny dipping
10.  Run 10k in one go
11.  Swim with dolphins
12.  Have something published
13.  Do ‘zoo keeper’ experience
14.  Get promoted
15.  Ride a horse
16. Pull a pint
17.  Hobbit / Lord of the Rings trilogy film marathon
18.  Do a CBT
19.  Hold a tarantula
20.  Bake a soufflé
21. Own a designer handbag
22. Visit the Isle of Man
23. Eat in a sushi restaurant
24. Visit Lego Land
25. Visit Stonehenge
26. Have a professional photo shoot
27. Visit Edinburgh Zoo
28. Row a boat
29. Climb to the top of Durham Cathedral
30. Learn a foreign language (conversational)
31. Host a dinner party
32.  Get iris tattoo
33.  Achieve ideal weight
34.  Learn to play chess
35.  Be vegan for a month
36.  Fly first class
37.  Sleep in a hammock
38.  Experience a sunrise
39.  Learn sign language
40.  Drive a sports car
I'm going to do an update post every time that I achieve something on the list.

What do you think of the idea? What sort of things would you put on your own list? Do let me know.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

My Favourite Poem

It was National Poetry Day on Thursday and, whilst I was a little too busy to update at the time, I thought I would share my favourite poem with you.

The poet:

Warsan Shire is a British poet born to Somali parents in Kenya in 1988. I first became aware of her when a friend sent me a text with some words from her poems. Having just lost my mother they made me burst into tears in the middle of IKEA.

“I have my mother’s mouth and my father’s eyes; on my face they are
still together.”
I bought Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth (2011) straight away. I was hooked.
The poem:
As a proud feminist this poem speaks to me in so many ways. Firstly, it resonates with me because in the past I've been told that I am a very difficult person; that my strength of conviction and passion for issues I feel strongly about it not attractive to other people. I've always been very vocal about my liberalism and this scares a lot of people - including my husband! Secondly, it says a lot about the struggle of women in the modern age to conform to society's standards about the 'perfect woman'.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

"for women who are 'difficult' to love."
Warsan Shire
you are a horse running alone
and he tries to tame you
compares you to an impossible highway
to a burning house
says you are blinding him
that he could never leave you
forget you
want anything but you
you dizzy him, you are unbearable
every woman before or after you
is doused in your name
you fill his mouth
his teeth ache with memory of taste
his body just a long shadow seeking yours
but you are always too intense
frightening in the way you want him
unashamed and sacrificial
he tells you that no man can live up to the one who
lives in your head
and you tried to change didn't you?
closed your mouth more
tried to be softer
less volatile, less awake
but even when sleeping you could feel
him travelling away from you in his dreams
so what did you want to do love
split his head open?
you can't make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.
Those last three lines send chills down my spine every.single.time.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Wednesday Whine | Common sayings people get wrong

It's well known that I've got a bit of a short fuse when it comes to the English language. I'm not an expert by any means and I've been known to change words in sentences if I don't know how to spell them, but I like to think that I've got the basics covered. I know the difference between 'you're' and 'your' and I can tell you what an Oxford comma is in a heartbeat.

Like most people I spend a lot of time on the internet and since signing up to Twitter I've noticed a lot of common phrases and words that people misuse, spell incorrectly or simply get completely and utterly WRONG. At first I thought these were isolated incidents; who could actually think 'a blessing in disguise' is 'a blessing in the skies'?! Well, if you put that phrase into the Twitter search bar you'll find the answer is... thousands of people!

Read on for a light hearted look at some of my favourite sayings and words that people get wrong. ALL. THE. TIME. You might just find you're guilty too...

Monday, 8 September 2014

Memory Monday #5

This edition of Memory Monday is about the time I got my first dog.

My family have always had dogs; I was born into a household with an Old English Sheepdog (or Dulux dog as everyone used to refer to him) named Cromby and a pitiful little mongrel called Candy. After Cromby passed away we got another Old English Sheepdog, Boot. I knew that I'd have my own when I moved out. In 2007 my now husband and I bought a house and the day after we moved in we adopted our first puppy - Monty.


Friday, 5 September 2014

What's in my handbag?

I've seen this blogger tag doing the rounds since the day I started reading blogs. It's one of my favourites because I'm such a nosy person!

Since I was old enough to carry a handbag my friends have mocked me for having "everything but the kitchen sink" with me at all times. Hell, if it wasn't so odd looking I'd take my handbag on a night out but instead I'm forced to scale down and take a clutch. Damn you convention!

Monday, 4 August 2014

Days Out | Gibside (National Trust)

Gibside is a beautiful 18th-century landscaped garden complete with Georgian chapel. This National Trust property is situated on the outskirts of Gateshead where urban meets country and is a haven for wildlife and birds. The lack of mobile signal makes it the perfect place for us humans to seek refuge and spend a few hours 'off the grid'!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Birthday Wish List

I love August. OK, let me rephrase that - I love the things that happen in August. I don't like the muggy weather, being too hot, makeup sliding off my face and dressing for summer only to have the heavens open and more rain fall than it does in the rest of the year.

But back to the good part - August is my 'birthday month'. I love birthdays, not just my own but everybody's! I think birthdays are special no matter how old you are as they're a chance for you to show someone how special they are on a day that's just for them (and about 19 million other people...) I usually spend most of August eating three course meals with family and friends, having afternoon tea 'just because' and visiting as many people as I can.

This year I'm spending my week off having afternoon tea with my friend Joanne, going out to my favourite rock night with my favourite guy friends from work, visiting my grandmother in Derbyshire and visiting my lovely friend Elisabeth and her beautiful family in Surrey. Check out her parenting blog The Imaginative Nest. On the actual day my wonderful husband is taking me for lunch at Marco Pierre White in Newcastle. It's going to be a packed week! (I'm going to the dentist too, but that's not much fun is it?)

A few of my friends and family have been asking what I'd like for my birthday, which is on August 11th, so I've put together a little wish list.

1. Owl oil cloth purse.  I'm desperate for a new purse but I'm very specific in my needs! It has to be cute - like 'cute owl' level of cute - and it has to be BIG! There has to be a space for coins, notes and LOTS of cards. It doesn't necessarily have to be owl print but I really like owls so it's a fail safe choice. Oh, it also has to have a space to slot my driver's license so it's visible without having to take it in and out (I still get asked for ID A LOT even though I'm in my 30s!)

2. 'Eats, Shoots & Leaves' by Lynne Truss. As a self confessed member of the Grammar Police I'm surprised I don't already have this book, but I don't and it's widely and cheaply available so it's a good choice for people on a budget. Of course I'd love to receive gifts worth £100s but even I'm not that special.*

3. Body Shop satsuma body wash. I love citrus scents. I love to shower. It's a win-win gift! As a side note I'd like to add that I really don't need any more hand creams - I have enough from the various beauty boxes I buy to start my own shop!

4. Woodwick candle in citrus zest. I love citrus scents. I love candles. It's a win-win gift! (Am I sounding repetitive yet...?!) I also love Yankee Candle sparkling lemonade. Just sayin'.

5. No7 Lash Adapt mascara in brown/black. You know I'm not a fan of black mascara for a day time look so this has to be in brown/black as it's my daytime essential. I love this mascara as it really does let you build up your lashes without clumping. At least it does for me and that's all I really care about!

6. MAC Viva Glam IV. I've already asked my in-laws for 'Party Line' and this is next on my must have list. It's a lovely deep pink with sparkly gold undertones and although it's probably more of an autumn / winter colour I just know I'll wear it to death!

Is it your birthday in August? How do you celebrate? Let me know in the comments, I love to hear from you!

 * This is a lie!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Review | Kleenex shine absorbing sheets & giveaway

My skin hates me. There I've said it. It can't make up its mind whether it wants to be dry or oily. I've got a nose so oily that I could start making money as a provider of fossil fuels and cheeks so dry they make the Atacama Desert look positively humid! My chin and forehead like to flip between the two camps so as you can imagine it's pretty difficult to find face products to treat my combination skin.

Prevention is an ongoing journey but until then I've found a quick and easy way to deal with the oil well that is my nose!

Kleenex shine absorbing sheets

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Music | Gigs 2014 January - June

I love live music; there's just something about seeing a live band that brings their music to life. Being surrounded by people who all share a similar passion really excites me and I'll happily watch bands in all kinds of venues from stadiums to the back room of a dingy pub. I keep all of my gig and concert tickets (believe me, there's a difference between a concert and a gig but that's a post for another day!) and glancing back it seems that I haven't seen as many bands so far this year as I usually have by the halfway point. Read on to find out a little bit more about the bands and artists I've seen and who knows, you might even discover something new!