Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Life is Art.

"I think everything in life is art. What you do. How you dress, how you love someone, and how you talk. Your smile and your personality. What you believe in, and all your dreams. The way you drink your tea. How you decorate your home. Or party. Your grocery list. The food you make. How your writing looks. And the way you feel. Life is art. - Anonymous.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Pages and Ink

I do A2 English Lit and for my coursework, I have to do at least 1 self-taught book. My teachers gave me a huge list of books they suggested would be good for me to read and possibly use so me & mum ordered them the other day. They arrived a couple of days ago and its so nice to have a pile of unread books with unread stories in them! Even though they're potentially for a subject, I'm really excited to read them because I've wanted to read most of them for a while.

Top to Bottom: The Sun Also Rises - Ernest Hemingway, David Golder, Jezebel and Suite Francaise all by Irene Nemirovsky, The Sunday Philosophy Club - Alexander McCall Smith, The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood, Dubliners - James Joyce, The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath and The Yellow Wallpaper - Charlotte Perkins Gilman
After reading The Paris Wife last month, I've been wanting to see what Hemingway's writing was like. After reading the first chapter and a half, I really like it so far! It also makes it interesting because this book was based around his friends and a trip to Spain, written about in The Paris Wife. I feel like I already know some of the back story which makes it fun to guess which character is supposed to be which person I have read about previously. I can't wait to read more of it!
I'd never heard of Irene Nemirovsky but my teacher suggested the books to me as she is her favourite author. I read the blurbs and some back story of Nemirovsky and all three look interesting! I'm looking forward to reading them! 
I bought the next two in the series of The Sunday Philosophy Club, not realising that there was one before them so I've actually almost finished the second one which I've completely loved! I really love McCall Smith's style of writing so I can't wait to read this one! 
I've heard good things about Margaret Atwood and the book, even though it doesn't seem to be my usual thing to read, sounds interesting and exciting. A friend is also reading this for English and she says it's really good so I'm hoping I like it!
Dubliners is a text we are going to study in class so I have to read this but I've been meaning to read some Joyce for a while now so I'm excited! We're also not looking at the entire book so I look forward to reading the rest of it if I get the chance!
I've heard a lot about Sylvia Plath, both good and bad, so I've been wanting to read The Bell Jar to gain my own opinion of her writing! As it's one of her most well known books, it should be a good indication hopefully! I'm excited to read it because from the blurb it seems to be exciting and a really interesting book! 
Due to only being 17 pages long, I read The Yellow Wallpaper in about 20 minutes. It's about a woman who descends into madness. It's written as diary entries which gives it a more personal view. The story starts off fairly normal, only getting slight hints of her illness and descends into descriptions of the wallpaper and very little about anything else. It also shows people's attitudes to mentally ill people of that time which I find interesting. Even though it's only short, it's quite a strange book but interesting at the same time! I'm not sure if I would read it again because it's clever but also quite uncomfortable because of it being a personal, and in this case, secret diary. I also find it interesting how you never find out her name from her or any of the other characters mentioned in the book. It's creepy so if you like that sort of thing then read it! 
I'm so excited to read the rest of the books and I hope they're all good because they seem to be from what I've read and been told so far!
Jess xx

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Sweet obsession

As I'm diabetic, it's probably not so good that I have a major sweet obsession. We went to John Lewis today and me and my brother were let loose in the sweet was a really bad idea because we got quite a few!
Big bag of 'retro' sweets! 
Jelly beans! 
These are only a few of the sweets we got but they're probably my favourites.
I haven't had any of the sweets in the bag for ages but love hearts and candy necklaces are the best sweets ever so this pack makes me happy!
I also haven't had proper jelly beans for a really long time so this makes me very happy. I love the booklet you get with it because it gives you really cool combinations and flavours to make! My favourite flavours are probably lemon, orange, cherry, blueberry, lemon & lime and grape!
Jess xx

Friday, 26 July 2013

Raspberry fields!

Me, my brother and my Mum went Strawberry picking today! We intended to anyway. When we got to the field, most of the strawberries had gone so we went searching to see if there were any more somewhere else and we stumbled across rows and rows of raspberries instead!
It was warm but cloudy for the most part which was so nice because it meant I could enjoy myself without feeling like I was going to melt into a puddle! Trying to avoid bees and spiders was also fun...especially for everyone else - they got to laugh at me when I felt something on my leg/arm/wherever else and slapped it while shouting/screaming...gotta love hating bugs, right?
We ended up picking about half a basket of raspberries then we also bought some already picked strawberries at the counter so the trip wasn't a waste (in strawberry terms anyway...)! I think mum is going to turn them into Strawberry ice cream which is awesome! Don't know what will happen with the raspberries though...all I know is that they taste really good!

So many raspberries!

Lots and lots of raspberries, yum! 

We found a row with loads just the first bit!!! 
Fruit picking is so much fun to do with the family in summer, and it's better for the local people! Try it out, you'll enjoy yourself!
Jess xx

Kate Spade

As I said in a previous blog, I've had a bit of an obsession with Kate Spade for just under a year or so. I find their designs so cute and quirky but still sophisticated which I completely love. The bright colours and pretty designs and patterns for their clothes, bags and accessories are just amazing!
I've been wanting to see one of their shops since I saw pictures on The College Prepster's blog and I finally got to! It was only a little shop in Covent Garden, London but it was so amazing and lived up to the expectations that the American shops set!
The layout and displays reflected the brand's cute quirkiness perfectly, I wish I could have bought the whole shop!

I really want something similar in my house/apartment when I move out!

The window displays were amazing! I love all of the outfits! 

The light of the camera actually flashes!

The little popcorn tub is actually a bag!! I love the movies so this is an amazing line at the moment! 

I love the bird cages!

Book stacking always looks so awesome and the colour of the bag is my favourite! 
This is just by the stairs and the changing rooms, so simple but so cute! 
I will definitely be revisiting this shop when I have more money so I can buy some of their amazing stuff!
Jess xx

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

TED talks

My Ancient History teacher shows my class a TED talk about the Cyrus cylinder about a month ago and ever since I've been meaning to search for more on YouTube as I found it really interesting and entertaining. I'd also heard other bloggers mention them before so I thought it would be good to have a look at some when I had the chance. 
I finally got some spare time to search for them today and boy, was it a good decision. 
I was completely overwhelmed with the amount of videos that I came across just on the main TEDtalks channel an I finally came across one that peaked my curiosity enough to click on the link. 
The first video I watched was called 'Peter Attia: What if we're wrong about diabetes?'. 

As someone who has diabetes, naturally, this was going to grab my attention and it was a really interesting talk about the link between diabetes and obesity. This led me to search through the suggested videos bar at the side of my current video to find the next talk that peaked my interest. 

I ended up watching 9 other TED talks, including these: 
It's evident just from the 7 talks I've suggested here that there is a huge variety of different talks that will interest most people. Just take some time to scroll through the videos on the channel and click on the first one that catches your eye, you might be surprised!

Jess xx

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

A Day out in London

Mark came up to see me straight after I got back from Sicily and we went to London for the day which was amazing! He stayed over 3 nights which was lovely! We just stayed in on Thursday which was nice and relaxed `very good after walking around for a week straight!)
On Friday we decided to go in to London which was super exciting because I haven't been for ages! I love London so it was really nice to go to loads of different places (thank you travel card!) and see parts of London I haven't properly seen before. We went to Covent Garden first and looked around a few shops which was nice; I really like it there and I really want to go back again! I finally got to go to a Kate Spade shop! It was honestly so amazing. The shop was so cute and quirky and the displays were adorable! I'll do an extra blog about it with pictures of the shop because it was so amazing! I found an absolutely gorgeous top down from £105 to £42 and Mark was just incredible and bought it for me because he's completely perfect! It has stripes and bows on it; two of my favourite things so how could I resist?!
We then went to Portobello road/Notting Hill to have a look at the market and it was so nice! It wasn't too busy so we got to look around the stalls properly! We also stumbled across the Hummingbird bakery, which I'd heard about before from Carrie Hope Fletcher (ItsWayPastMyBedTime on YouTube!) so it made me really happy to be able to try them! I got a red velvet cupcake because I've heard so much about them! The cakes were quite expensive but so worth it, mine was really tasty! It was a really pretty shop and the cakes were pretty too!
How cute are these cupcakes?!

I loved this picture on the wall!
We returned to Covent Garden because we had seen all of the market and we stumbled across a sweet shop called SugarSin that was the cutest thing ever! We got some little pots of sweets that are really nice! I got fruit chews, got my brother berry chews and Mark got Banoffee jelly beans! I'll put the pictures on the same blog post as the Kate Spade shop pictures because it was equally cute!

Kate Spade top, Hummingbird bakery cupcakes (red velvet and chocolate caramel),
Fruit sweets from SugarSin and a Hummingbird bakery brownie
- from Instagram
Jess xx

Monday, 22 July 2013

Sun, Sea and Sand in Sicily!

I've just come back from a week long trip to Sicily with my college - doing Ancient history and Classics = good trips to hot places! I haven't been on many plane journeys and I only remember one (yay Durham....) so it was quite exciting and scary to be going on a trip that was longer than an hour. It wasn't as bad as I had expected because everyone on the trip was sitting together so it was fun as we could talk to each other without annoying other passengers! On the way there, there was a 2 year old that wouldn't stop crying and screaming which was in the row in front of me. It was the single most annoying thing I've ever had to put up with.
The one thing I do love about flying is the duty free. You can buy things for cheaper so stuff that's a bit pricey is actually more affordable! After having my Benefit 'Laugh with me LeeLee' perfume for a while, I was super excited to see a benefit stall at duty free and I ended up searching through all of the different products until I found one that I fell in love with completely.
Cutest palette ever with the nicest colours!
The design is adorable!
The 3 eyeshadows are nice and subtle colours, very wearable!
Very handy mirror too! 
The kit contains 3 eyeshadows, creaseless cream eyeshadow,
bo-ing concealer, eye bright, bad gal lash mascara and 3 types of brush.
It also comes with a how-to booklet with added tricks!
It's so helpful and makes it easier to use!
Being someone who doesn't wear a lot of make up, this palette is perfect because it's subtle but looks amazing! The amount of powders and creams in the pack is overwhelming at the start but once you get your head around what goes where, it's so simple! I love it so much, it's really easy to apply and the booklet is super handy.

In Sicily, we visited lots of temples,  amphitheatres, a Roman town and other ancient buildings. We also went to the beach a lot which isn't usually my sort of thing, but it was nice to just relax at the beach after a long day of walking! Annoyingly nearly all of my pictures are still on my camera so I'll do an extra picture post when I put them on to my computer eventually! I have a couple of pictures from my phone of some of the beaches though!
This was taken from a beachside restaurant with the nicest pizza ever!
I didn't go on the beach here because it was too hot but the view was amazing! 
The weather was so nice out in Sicily, it was really hot but it was a different heat than it is in England so now I'm back it doesn't feel too hot!
On the last day, we got to look around Catania, a really nice town that looked how you would imagine Italy. We saw another amphitheatre that was right in the centre of the town and then we went shopping! United Colors (they spell it like still annoys me...) of Benetton had a massive sale on so me and a couple of friends went for a browse and I found a really gorgeous top!

I have a weakness for stripes but at €21, how could I resist?!
I also have an addiction with at the airport back to England, I bought a spotty red scarf! It was €12.50 so it was amazing! It's such a nice, light material and it's actually really big when fully stretched out! I'm reminded of Minnie Mouse; it's a shame that the weather isn't cold enough to wear it at the moment though!
Minnie mouse scarf!
It was a really great trip and I got to spend time with some of my favourite people from college and get closer to others so it's been a great start to summer so far! 
Jess xx

Friday, 5 July 2013

The Dress

I was browsing twitter a few months or so ago and I stumbled upon a link to a website called Polka dot polly. I had a browse through and I instantly fell in love.
It's a Mother/Daughter company based in the UK who make custom made 50s style dresses, skirts and now blouses in a wide variety of styles and fabrics. They're absolutely amazing and when I found the website, I found myself searching through for potential patterns and styles of dress. After pestering mum to have a look at the website, we eventually found a pattern and style that we both liked and bought it!
It took about 3 weeks to get here and by that time I was revising for my exams so it was such a nice mid-exam present to arrive!
The dress is such a good quality and is made amazingly well, and considering the dresses are custom made, they are a really good price!!!
I've worn it a few times now but because of lovely typical British weather, I haven't been able to as much as I would like. It's so comfortable, and the length (I got the skirt to be 23", the shortest length) is perfect at just above the knee. I also chose a full circle skirt which is super cute.
Picture from the Polkadotpolly facebook page - how gorgeous is this?! I love it so much!

I've been wanting a swing dress for so long and now I actually have one, it's so perfect and better than I imagined! I'm in love with it because it's so amazing an I'm definitely going to save up and buy another at some point in the future!
Jess xx

The Perfect Weekend.

This weekend made me realise that there's nothing that I love more than cuddling in bed playing pacman at 11pm with someone you care a lot about.
This weekend, as the title says, was really quite perfect. I went to see my close friend (&now boyfriend - yay!) down in Dorchester Friday-Sunday and it was really great! 
Friday was a relaxed day because it took 2 and a half hours by train to get down there which took up quite a bit of the day and included a stupid delay at my station so we had to go to the next station on which was quite stressful! From there everything was fine though; I got to Reading without any problems, got my coffee and some other bits & bobs and managed to balance 2 rather large bags, a coffee and a train ticket whilst walking through a barrier. I feel quite proud of myself for achieving this really! When I got there we decided what to do on Saturday and decided on the cinema so to prepare, we watched Despicable Me on DVD (plus all the extras - the minions are so so funny!). It must be one of my favourite films EVER. It's adorable and the minions and little girls are just hilarious and amazing! 
On Saturday we went to Weymouth which was really nice - it's a really pretty seaside town with lots of + shops = lots of shopping, and that's exactly what happened! I ended up getting some gorgeous black and white polka dot sandal wedges from Debenhams in the sale for £17.50 and they're just amazing! I'm going to take them on my trip to Sicily next week and gove them a good run out! They're so cute and comfortable too, I love them!
The perfect pair of wedges
I still can't believe they were only £17.50!

I was telling Mark about a perfume I've heard a lot about from other blogs and what not and how it smelled amazing. I went to the loo and I came back and he'd bought it for me as a present! He's really so adorable and it's amazing! (Just as a side note - we've been unofficial for about a month and a half, it's not like he's buying me amazing presents after a day of dating, don't worry!) The perfume is Laugh with me LeeLee by Benefit and it really is the most gorgeous and delicate summery floral smell. They describe it as a woody floral smell in the booklet and that's pretty much spot on I think! It's pretty and subtle so it's really good for an every day wear instead of a special occasion perfume. It also comes in the cutest packaging as well, I'm in love completely! It's so cute! The bottle is also amazing too!
If you haven't tried this out then do, it's really amazing! 
I also went to New Look and bought a couple of strappy tops for Sicily because they'll be good to wear in the super hot weather! I got a white one and a pink one and they're both so nice! 
We saw Despicable Me 2 in the cinema and it's honestly one of the funniest films I've ever seen. It matches and possibly even beats the first one which is pretty impressive! The little minion clips during the first part of the credits were also just as funny, I just can't get enough of those yellow guys! The purple minions were hilarious too! It's definitely one of my favourite non-Disney films though, so brilliant! 
We went to Dorchester centre on the Sunday and it was so lovely. There was a market which was really nice to look around and I ended up buying 8 books!!! I spent £8.50 on them put together instead of on only one so I'm pretty happy! I regret not getting more though because I overlooked some books because I thought mum had them but it turned out that she didn't so yeah...silly on my part really! I'm really excited to read the books I did get though! I've either heard really good things about the books, the authors or I thought they sounded interesting so I'm rather excited to give them a read! At least I won't be short of reading material on the Sicily trip! If you've read any of the books then tell me what they're like in the comments below!
I can't wait to start this pile! They all look so good! 
We also had a really lovely and romantic lunch at Carluccio's which was pretty perfect! I've decided I like Mark's neck of the woods rather a lot... His house is in the middle of nowhere and in a proper village like out of TV shows but it isn't completely remote because there are some pretty nice and rather big towns quite close by which is really nice! It makes where I live feel like the middle of a busy city! It's a shame we live so far apart because it's so lovely spending time with him and it's rather special and fun when we're together. He's one of those people I just click with and can have a great time with so yeah, pretty perfect if you ask me!
Jess xx

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Cinema connoisseur

-I've just been on a week long holiday in Sicily and I didn't have time to post this before, sorry!-
In the last month, I've been to the cinema 5 times. That's more times than I usually go in a year! My noticeboard is covered in cinema tickets now and I love it! 
I saw The Great Gatsby with English last month which was just amazing - I loved it so much and thought it was so well done! Some things that were missed from the book annoyed me but mostly, it was a really good film! 
Next was Pompeii live which was a bit of a disaster. Our ancient history class should have been going to see the adult version that actually explained the exhibition being displayed in the British museum at the moment, but instead we went to the later version by accident and ended up in the children's version which was a glorified geography and year 4 history lesson combined with presenters as horrible and patronising as the people off Cbeebies and Newsround. It was painful to sit through mostly but it was more bearable because of our class' running commentary which was quite funny at points! When artefacts from the exhibition were shown, there weren't many, it was actually interesting so I can't wait to go at the end of August; it's going to be amazing to actually see it in person because it looks really fantastic!
The cinema in town where I go to college is a little old style, independent cinema that hosts free film nights for students once every month, and June's film was Monsters university! It was so great and funny and I loved it so much!! It was fun seeing monsters from the first film who are scarers and what they were like at Uni and also it was pretty cool to see why Randal turned out to be evil! Honestly such an amazing film, everyone must watch it! 
I then went to see Man of Steel with a friend at the same cinema that weekend and even though I'm not a huge superman fan, it was actually such a good film and I really loved it! It's directed by the guy who did 300 so I was expecting the worst so it was a really nice surprise that I ended up enjoying it! 
The last one was this last weekend (now actually about 3 weeks ago...sorry) when I saw Despicable Me 2 with Mark. I saw it in 3D and because I wear glasses it was slightly awkward at times when trying to keep them up, but it was such a good film! It was funny and sweet and I just loved every second! The minions and Agnes are still my favourites - I swear I'm more like Agnes than any of the other girls which is scary because she's only 6! That really says something about me I think....! The end credit minion mini clips were also amazing as per usual so if you watch it, don't leave the second it finishes because it's really funny! 
Mostly, the films I've seen have been fantastic and I've not seen any of them for the full price! (Thank you student card/college discounts...) All of the films are well worth the full amount though! 
Jess xx

Monday, 1 July 2013

The University Chronicles: The beginning!

This month, I've been over the whole country looking at Universities! I've only been to 4 and I've been to Devon, Berkshire (not really difficult as I live here...), the Midlands and County Durham. I've been to one of the most southern counties and one of the most northern, it's crazy but quite awesome because I get to see places I've never been before! Looking around Unis is so exciting but scary because it's another completely different step in life which is another step towards independence and 'real life'.
I've already said about Exeter and I'll say now that it's kept as the solid top choice of mine since! 
We went to look at Birmingham next and it was so nice! It was really pretty and the course was fantastic! The only let down was the accommodation, which was no where near as nice as Exeter but actually more expensive. 
Reading was the next on the list! I originally wasn't too sure about it because it's the closest big town to me and I've been there too many times to count so one of my main points for wanting to go to Uni (going away from home and exploring somewhere new) had already been smashed. However, we got there and it was really nice! The archaeology and ancient history buildings were lovely, the staff were enthusiastic and friendly and the course was really really nice! The accommodation blew the other two out of the water by miles, Birmingham by quite a bit more than Exeter still, though! The rooms were bigger, cheaper, cleaner and had so much more storage space! Reading is definitely second choice so far, I was pleasantly surprised! 
Me and dad went to Durham last Monday and I can honestly say it was one of the most disappointing experiences of my life. The accommodation was horrific, the course was no where near the standard of the other three unis, the teachers made it seem like a priveledge to be accepted rather than them being enthusiastic about the course and wanting people to get in and it had a general air of snobiness about it. I've never hated somewhere so much in my life. It was a real shame though because the actual place was lovely, the university however, wasn't. I don't understand how it has the reputation is does really; the course wasn't worth the grades they were asking for and it just didn't seem like a nice place! I think it also doesn't help that I prefer campus unis and Durham is the only non-campus Uni I've seen. I've decided to not bother applying there and look for somewhere else to look instead. Definitely not somewhere I would want to spend 3 years of my life.
I have to wait until September to visit UCL and Bristol so it's not over yet! I'm pretty confident that Exeter will be my firm choice and Reading will be insurance choice though, they're both fantastic unis.
Jess xx


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Jess xx