Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Life update// New job

Credit goes to my boyfriend for this brilliant pic, but how can you be stressed when looking at this Bad-ass ladybird???

Okay, since I last did a little life update (Check it out!),= things have progressed nicely for a change.
 I've had my HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) application accepted and I'm now straight up starting as a Physiotherapist, in a hospital, next week. 

Like, what??

 I was half expecting the application to be denied and me to have to wait another month to start. Nope, it got accepted and now I have to actually start planning my way towards starting a new job! I'm incredibly excited, but I'm feeling a little unprepared at the moment.  

My to-do list at present is:
  1. Buy work shoes-Priority, I'll be on my feet all day so good supporting shoes are a must
  2. Buy black socks
  3. Buy some small notepads- to jot down key details, like how to make the boss' tea....
  4.  plan my journey to work: either sort a rail pass and practice my cycle route or go out and actually retrieve my motorcycle
  5. do a little revision 
  6. get a haircut- which I'm in dire need of...oops
  7. wash and iron uniform- although it will still be my old student uniform until I get new tunics
  8. plan some lunches-I'm thinking salad, wraps...hmm
A decent amount to do, and not a lot of time to do it! It's helped me a fair bit by writing it all down in a list. So although I am really nervous, I can't wait to get stuck in practicing properly.

What are your tips for starting a new job?
Abi x

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Autumn Coat-Wishlist

Normally, once the weather starts getting a little cooler, I start noseying around for a Autumn/Winter coat. The past couple of years I have been keeping careful count of my pennies and have just made do with the coat I had. Sadly, or not so sadly, its getting a little worn. So, as I'm on the hunt for a new coat, I thought I'd share a few of the ones I've been considering.  
Topshop, £59.00
Topshop, £175

Asos, £108.00
Asos, £35.00
New Look, £44.59
Dorothy Perkins, £59.00
Asos, £249.00

There you have it! A few I have my eyes on at the moment. Some are out of stock, others probably a bit out my budget. Still, it's given me a few ideas on the styles that I like currently.

What were your thoughts?

Abi x

Saturday, 26 September 2015

5's: 5 books EVERYONE should read

This weeks 5's installment is exactly what it says on the tin. 5 books I think everyone should read. Not 5 books everyone should read, but what I think they should. Everybody comes to reading in different ways, For me, my first few years as an avid reader were strongly influenced by Science Fantasy because that was what I was exposed to at the time. 

I acknowledge that this list, therefore, won't suit everyone. Nonetheless, they're all books I think people should invest the time in reading anyway, as they are all brilliant in their own way.

  1. The Pawn of Prophecy, by David Eddings: Across which, it tells the tale of a farmboy, naturally  guided by prophecy, who has to destroy a dark God. He has his trusty companions and new found magic at hand, can he do it?  It's the first book of Edding's classic Belgariad series, but this is THE book for me. The one which hooked me at the tender of age of 8 and created a reading monster. It made it onto the list, partly because it holds such a dear heart and partly because it is a beautiful example of the Science Fantasy Saga. Take one simple boy, add in a dash of magic, a touch of prophecy and a big bad guy. It's not the best book I have ever read, nor the worst, and it's hardly the most innovative but it fulfills that formula in such a pleasant way that you quickly become entranced. For me it is the perfect introduction into Science Fantasy and that is the real reason why its on the list.
  2. The Handmaids Tale, by Margaret Atwood: From Science Fantasy to Science Fiction. The Handmaidens Tale is a bleak novel set in a dystopian future. The main character, Offred, is a handmaid in the new society who's only purpose is reproduction. Through her eyes, we view the transitions to the new regime. It amazes both me and Offred how quickly people adjust, and how some people simply can't. The story made it onto this list because it is brilliantly written. Whenever I read any book set in a dystopian future (I've read a few now haha) it's to this book I find myself thinking and comparing it to.
  3. Bitten, by Kelley Armstrong: Elena, years after being bitten by her fiance Clay, is struggling to live a human life anymore. That alone had me hooked. Elena, is an imperfect, female werewolf who has her own flaws and is still a strong woman and thats why I love this book. It's the first of Armstrong's Woman of the Otherworld series, and sets a lot of the groundwork for later books. It's a violent and crafty series and this book starts it brilliantly. For anyone wanting to read Supernatural fantasy but fed up of a male dominated power set up, then this is a must read.
  4. The Killing Floor, by Lee Child: Not a typical book for me, but this is the first of Child's Jack Reacher novels. It's exceptionally well written and it introduces Reacher and his mindset very well without telling us much about his history. I've since read almost all of Child's novels and enjoyed them for varying reasons. Yet his first is definitely up there with the best for the way it hooks the reader, and the enigmatic character Reacher. I chose it for list because it was book which took me out my nice fantasy comfort zone and I ended up really enjoying it. I feel that it'd be a winner with anyone looking for something a bit more gritty and dark.
  5. The Book Thief, by MarKus Zusak: I received this as a secret Santa present about 6-7 years ago (still don't know who sent it!) and just fell in love. I find many things about the Second World War and seeing it through the innocent eyes of 9 year old Liesel. It is spectacularly penned from the viewpoint of Death and had me in tears at several points. On a slight side note it should probably go onto my "Things that make me Cry list. Nonetheless its a dark book that will definitely set the old brain to thinking.
There you have it! 

5 brilliant books, 1 list. 

If you've read any before, do you agree with the reasons why they've made it onto my list?
If you haven't read any before and you DO read them , what were your impressions?

Abi x

Friday, 25 September 2015

Oddballs Haul!// 10% off

Hi there! I bet you're wondering why there's a load of boxer shorts in the picture. That's because in this post I'm talking all about Oddballs!
The titular haul in question ISN'T EVEN MINE. It's my boyfriends (Lewis)! Yep, I'm that impressed, I'm writing about it when it's not mine... sad times.

So, what is Oddballs? Oddballs is a foundation that aims to raise awareness for Testicular Cancer. They primarily sell underwear in a range of bright and funky patterns, of which 10% of the proceeds goes to charity. Each pair has its own crazy design with a cool name to match. 
The brand do different sized bundles, usually themed or you can buy each pair singularly for £9.99 each.
The postman gave me some funny looks, as the packaging is as jazzy as the products!
So far in their history, they have coordinated with the charity RugbyAid to bring a Rugby themed pair of bottoms, sharing the proceeds between Rugby for Heroes as well as Testicular Cancer. They have also just released their Movember themed boxers as well, which divides the proceeds raised between Testicular Cancer Awareness and The Movember Foundation.  I'm predicting these will definitely sell quick!

In his order, Lewis got the new Movember pattern, the Rugby Aid pattern and the Honeycomb design. He also received a FREE surprise pair as an additional promotion, at the time of ordering, which turned out to be Static.  
Top L-R: Movember, Honeycomb. Bottom L-R: Static and Rugby Aid
The company frequently run additional offers, so you can find yourself picking up treats such as extra pairs, flip flops or even hats.
This is not the first order Lewis has made with the company, he's previously ordered 3 pairs (Carnival, Disco and Kaleidoscope), and received a free pair of flip flops to boot! Pun intended.... He reports that each pair he has fits really well,  Lewis ordered his usual size in all off his pairs and states that they fit howe would expect. I can add that the fabric holds the bright colours really well, as we haven't  noticed any colour running in the wash as of yet.
3 pairs at £9.99 each, plus the FREE mystery pair
At this time of year, I typically start musing and planning my Christmas presents (I know not everyone is that organised) but I think these would make a perfect gift for a brother or male friend as they're pretty relaxed and fun.

The brand also do a range of briefs for Women, although not in as many designs nor in bundles. When my underwear draw needs a refresh I will definitely be heading to Oddballs to have a nosey! As I've not tried the women's range yet I can't comment on the sizes, but I'm hoping they'll fit as well as the men's did Lewis!

 If you're interested in adding some jazzy colour and patterns to your underwear collection then make sure you use the code LEWISTOWNENDBALLS for an extra 10% off at the till.

Abi x

P.S. this is not a sponsored post, but has come from the bottom of my Blogger heart because it's a brill product for a great cause.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Liverpool shopping HAUL!

Last week, Bluestripedsquare was a very lucky gal who friggin passed her final University module! So, my Mum decided to treat us to a girly day out in Liverpool and spoilt me rotten with some lovely new things.

Do you want to see what I got? Who am I kidding?
Of course you do!
Prepare for a photo heavy post, mwahaha!
Skirt, New look
Close up of print

The first item I got was this gorgeous skirt from New Look. It channels the 70's vibes quite nicely, I feel. It's quite a bold print for me and is definitely taking me out my comfort zone with the colours! I naturally vere towards darker shades like black/grey/blue, so it'll make a nice change to pop this skirt on.
Boots, Deichmann

My mum made me BIN the shoes I was wearing once I'd bought these. Pretty OTT but the pumps I was wearing had totally fallen apart tbf...

Airbrush Concealer, Clinique. Available from Boots.
This is the absolute baby of my makeup routine. Sadly mine had run out not long ago and I figured I'd mourned it long enough so I picked up another! Expect a review coming soon...

Handbag, New Look
When I saw this I had to have it. It's beautiful purpley colour will work very well with my wardrobe, maybe not so much with my new skirt haha. It's a decent size and has both pockets AND a shoulder strap. YESSSSS.

Cropped top, New Look
 Again, this top is challenging my style confidence by being a cropped top. I know, I know, its 2015 and crop tops have been all over this Summer, but it still makes me nervous having my tummy on show. I like this one because it's a little bit longer (still cropped), so its a nice step in to challenging my nerves. I think it'll look great with some jeans and my new boots!
Black top, New Look
Finally, another black top! This one is nice and simple with a little bit of decoration at the bottom. I intend to match it with my jazzy skirt, tights and a cute necklace.

I hadn't realised before, but I really had a good shop in New Look! 

What do you think about my buys? Any tips for outfits?

Abi x
p.s. I've not included prices as I was strictly told not to look at them by my Mum. What a cutie!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Book review 3// Make Me, by Lee Child

I finished this book this morning, after waiting for the other half to read it first and hand it over. It's the twentieth Jack Reacher book by author Lee Child and had some of the usual features one might expect from a Reacher story:

  • A twisting tale
  • Reacher managing to get involved in something totally not his business
  • Violence
  • Bad guys 
  • A female associate
  • Army references
The book starts with Reacher getting off a train at a small town called Mother's Rest, purely to find out if there is a story behind the name of the town. It doesn't take long however for Reacher's interest to pique regarding the locals odd behaviours and the presence of Michelle Chang.

Child's has written Reacher in much the same way, with little character development. Although, I feel like we're starting to see signs of Reacher aging, thrown into the mix. This general lack of character improvement is something I find reassuring, rather than disappointing.As Reacher has such a strong and competent personality, it's comforting to see that he continues to maintain it.

A character I didn't like as much was that of Michelle Chang. I felt she was very one dimensional, with hints of low self confidence that were never really explored. If I'm honest, I always have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Lee Child's leading ladies. They're frequently competent women, who engage well with Reacher and serve to genuinely move the plot along.

Child doesn't shy away from allowing Reacher to have consensual sex with these women, and we know it will always be consensual, because Reacher just would not accept anything otherwise. His approach to sex in general in his books is one I admire, discussing topics such as sexual harassment within the military, and giving characters the independence to be gay.

Yet, to me, Reacher's sex life has become very predictable, I can only think of one book in the series in which he doesn't initiate a romantic relationship!  I feel a little bit disloyal for disliking this attribute of the books while admiring the approach in which sex is managed in the series but meh, it's just how I feel.

The storyline was interesting enough, and I some became invested in trying to guess what would happen.Of my two theories, one was nearly right. This is a shame, as it felt rather anti-climatic when the tale was finally revealed.

One final point, I felt that a few parts of the book have put in to lay down support for a future plot line. This has happened in past books occasionally but in this particular novel it felt rather clunky and didn't seem to really fit in.

Overall, I found the book okay. It wasn't my favourite in the series but I'd read it again. As a new addition to my reviews I'm starting to rate books out of 5 and this one is receiving a solid 3/5.

Abi x
Have you read any of Lee Child's novels?

Monday, 21 September 2015

Life updates!

I received this daisy of a patient, and it never fails to make me smile.

When I first started this blog, my future was uncertain. I had finished University but not graduated, as I'd failed a module. I had a job offer but no job. I'd not long moved to a new house with my boyfriend, but had no foreseeable income.

So basically, everything was everywhere in an all sorts of up-down, sideways kind of way. If that sentence makes sense to you then you know exactly how I've been feeling these past 3 months.
My future depended on me passing my module re-submission and to keep things short I not long found out that I PASSED.


How I reacted to getting my results.

What does that mean now? For starters, I feel like a big black cloud has dissipated from around my shoulders. Things are still shaky, but they're definitely improving.

I contacted my potential employers and the job offer has now been reconfirmed. All thats left is to register myself with the HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council) in order to begin practicing as a Physiotherapist. If all that paperwork gets processed in time, and nothing needs redoing I'll start working full time in October. 

The problem is, now that I've sent my application off, with the fees dutifully paid, I'm stuck waiting again.
Don't get me wrong, having time off is nice. When it's been since June it gets to be a bit much. If the application does need some little tweaks, then I'll likely start work in NOVEMBER. A whole month later, and though its not the end of the world, it'd be extremely frustrating. I'm ready to move on with my life.

Luckily the boyfriend was off placement last week, so we've had a pretty good week. 

  • Monday, we day out in Liverpool
  • On Tuesday,we went into North Wales and wandered around the beautiful Loggerheads National Park
  • Wednesday we had home day topped off with a pint in our local
  • Thursday we round Birkenhead Park and picked up a game we've wanted for aaaages (Rugby League Live 3, anyone??)
  • Friday I had a girly day with my Mum (n'awwww)

A cidre with a view: The Harp Inn, Neston. Overlooking the marches.

So last week was pretty awesome to tell the truth. This week, I'm back on my lonesome as the boyfriend started back at University (I'm totally jealous!). 
It's up to me again to keep myself busy, try and have some kind of routine.

This post started out as a life update but turned into a bit of a mope haha. I feel a lot better for having got these words out though.

Abi x
P.s. Whats the longest time you've ever had off? What did you do to pass the time?

Saturday, 19 September 2015

5's: 5 places I want to go (outdoors!)

As part of my new series, I'm doing a weekly list of 5's. This week is places I want to go. In order to be more specific, this post will only have "outdoor" places. Links will be added at the end of the post.

  1. Snowdonia: situated in Wales, this famous mountain range is somewhere I am dying to explore. Funny story: I tried to suprise my boyfriend with a trip to the range last year, booking tickets to the nearest train station. Unfortunately, the nearest station was 13.5 miles away from the range, which I hadn't factored in until we arrived at Blaenau Ffestiniog! In the end we had a really nice day out exploring but got nowhere near Snowdonia. 
    Not quite Snowdonia but still an amazing view: Blaenau Ffestiniog.
  2. Yorkshire Dales: Well, my boyfriend grew up in this area and I've seen many stunning pictures but I would love to visit the Dales myself. I think he's slowly turning me Yorkshire! Particularly, I want to have a go at the three peaks challenge!! 
  3. Delamere Forest: Lest you think all I want to do is visit mountains (who wouldn't?) this little beauty crept on to the list. I actually live just 40 minutes away (by car) but have never ever been. 
  4. Beeston Castle: This is the first entry on this list that I have actually been to before! Unfortunately, it was many, many moons ago now. I've been to quite a few castles over the years that I would to go again to Beeston to see how it compares!
  5. Lake Windermere: Again, this is somewhere that I have been before. Lake Windermere is one of many amazing lakes within Cumbria. The first time I went was actually during a wet February weekend. I would love to see these iconic lakes during a lovely sunny weekend instead next time!
Me, stuck in the mud, Windermere 2014. My boyfriend took the time to get a picture before helping me out..... 

When I initially wrote the post I came up with much more than 5, covering a variety of activities. So, expect a few follow up posts in future! 

Are there any places that you would recommend for me?

Abi x

P.s. For information on the places I've talked about, head to:

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Book review 2// Stardust by Neil Gaiman

I first read Stardust many years ago, way before the film came out. I remember enjoying it and that it differs from the film, but the details of how escape me.
So when it was chosen for Septembers Infinite Variety Book club choice to read. I decided it was the perfect time for a reread!
Stardust by Neil Gaiman, on paper because I don't have a physical copy!!
The Book
Originally I read the "book" book but this time I only had access to a kindle version on my phone. Say what you will, and I do read a lot of kindle books, but nothing beats a solid book to flick through for me. Thus, I didn't have as good of a reading experience this time.
I found that I still enjoyed the story, but was able to notice more differences between the film and book than I had expected. Time blurs many details it seems.

For one, it was definitely darker than the film, which gives the land of Faerie a more cheerful glowing output.
Also the book was more casually sexualised. Not in an "in your face" way but more realistic than the film. That's to be expected though, as the films target population included younger viewers and that kind of content wouldn't be suitable.

The book flowed well from chapter to chapter, I was able to keep up well when we switched narratives. I don't how well someone else would fare with this as it is something I'm very much used to from my own favourites.

The biggest difference for me, other than some of the slight lot changes, was the personality of Lady Una. The book and film match in that she is a slave to a witch, yet I found her to be more vindictive and realistic than the film version. I actually liked the literary version a lot more because of this, I was able to connect with her more readily. In my head I had pretty much replaced her personality with that of the films.

Rereading this book has shown me how much influence a film adaptation can have on the overall tone of a book. I hadn't realised how much I was relying on the films impressions when I thought of the book. Overall I enjoyed the reread, and still like the book but for new reasons now!! I would have liked to have watched the film again, but don't currently have access to a copy.

What differences did you like or dislike between film and book?

Abi x

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Fragrances I love!

Up until Christmas 2014 I worked in a Boots store part time. Now there are ups and downs in any job but one of the perks of working there was my exposure to the fragrances. Although any product I use absolutely has to smell good, I never used to go for perfume. I'd occasionally pinch a tester of my Mum or be given something small for birthday but it wasn’t really my thing.

Working at Boots meant that I was frequently around fragrances and I very quickly began to enjoy tasks that would bring me closer to the fragrance counter just so I could have a good whiff of what was on offer!

Since starting that job three years ago I now have a few good fragrances and in this post I wanted to talk a little bit about how I came to have them and why I like them.

(L-R: Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel, Oh Lola! by Marc Jacobs, La vie est Belle by Lancome) 
  • The first fragrance I truly fell in love with was Chanel’s “Coco Mademoiselle”. My Mum has Chanel Chance, which I’ve always liked. However, it’s the softer, fresher sister fragrance that I much prefer. I bought this waaaay back in 2012 by saving all my Boots points up and splashed on a big bottle. As you can see in the picture I’ve made good headway through it in 3 years and it will definitely be one I plan to replace!

  • The second fragrance is “Oh Lola!” by Marc Jacobs. I don’t have a box for it as it came as a gift, but the flower top is so pretty that really never bothered me. At first I didn’t really like the scent, but it grew on me pretty quickly and I actually use it as a day perfume when I’m working or on placement. It’s strong enough to last through a busy working day whilst not being too overpowering for work. So it’s a perfect day perfume!
  • The final fragrance is on I’ve been lusting for nearly a year. I was lucky enough to receive a bottle for my 21st birthday of “La vie est Belle”, by Lancome. It has some similar tones to the Chanel, but isn’t as citrusy (is that a word?). I first came across it on one of my colleagues at work and just fell in love. My plan was to again save up my points and purchase it as a treat that way but I handed my notice in long before that happened. Since money has been pretty tight in the past year I hadn’t ever reached a point where I could I purchase it. In the end I got as a birthday present and I couldn’t be happier! I do adore the bottle, with its little silver scarf making it look ever so sophisticated.

What fragrances do you like? Are there any that you would recommend for me to try next?

Abi x

P.s. all fragrances where chosen by myself the writer, all words and opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, 14 September 2015

super 8's-are they working?

This year sees the first year of a new format for Rugby League. After the regular season had ended, the 24 teams of the Superleague and Championship were split into groups of "8's". This has presented unique challenges and opportunities for each team within this system.

Following the regular season, the top 8 Superleague teams separated from the bottom 4 teams and became the Super 8. These teams have carried their points over, with higher table positions resulting in more home games. They're competing for a top 4 position to enter the playoffs for the Grand Final in November.

The bottom 4 Superleague teams have been joined from the  top 4 of the Championship. This set of 8, The Qualifiers, are competing for places in Superleague 2016. They have not carried  any points over as it would be unfair, having come from two competitions.

The final 8 Championship teams will have points continue as they compete for the playoffs of the Championship shield.

We are now well into this Super 8 portion of the season, and what I want to know, is it working.

Well, yes.

Anyone watching Superleague over the  past year will surely agree, that the pressure to succeed has never let up. There is always something to play for. Instead of teams beginning to flag towards the end of the season, the Super 8's have only gotten hotter. With just two games left, the top 4 are still undecided. It's all to play for.

The Qualifiers have also given some nail biting games. Particularly for me when teams from Super league and Championship have battled. Almost everyone has benefited from the new format this year.

Fans have more games than ever, with continuation of television coverage. Championship teams have their time on the little screen too, as they compete for coveted Superleague places. This has enabled them to show off their own talents very well so far. Players have more to play for than ever and are gaining more and more experience, in ever bigger  games.

 The prospect of promotion and relegation is one I am familiar with, having a football background. Yet this new unique format is both exciting and innovating. This is showing the world that Rugby League is willing to think outside  the box and create competition that will far  people I'm.

The only negative point that can be raised is that by having an extended season players are increasing their exposure to injury. While most hardy league players asked would assure fans that this is not an issue, the effects are beginning to be seen.

An example can be seen within Hull FC, who could only name 18 men, not 19, just two days before their clash against Wigan Warriors. The game itself proved to be a gritty close win for the Warriors, but teams are going to have to get even tougher to adapt to late season injury losses.

The Super 8's are proving to be exhilarating but they're not over yet.
 I cannot wait to see what teams have in store for us for the final games of the season.

Abi x

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Things That Make Me Cry

So I was reading Xleptodactylous  blog and came across her post about  Things That Make Me Cry and it got me inspired to do my own version. 

Unfortunately, I actually found that we had quite a few in common! Luckily (or unluckily depending how you see it) I cry quite a bit. There’s no shame in it, it’s an emotional release that can be cathartic. So I have a few others up my sleeve to discuss.

So I’ve split my post into 3 sections, things I had in common with the original post, a books section and finally a film section.

Things in Common:
The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett- I cried through most of the first 100 pages. Then again at the end, because why not? It’s sad.
Pokemon the first movie: Mewtwo Strikes Back- those heartbroken tears of Pikachu never fail to set me off
Buffy the vampire slayer-Buffy’s second death is one of my favourite tv moments and yes, it does produce a few tears
Spooks, while it didn’t actually make me cry I felt it should join this little list because it damn near did. So it’s on here, for trying.

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

A Memory of Light (Book 14 The Wheel of Time) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
 –This book made me cry a number of times. The fourteenth installment in a series that has spanned decades. This book has a lot of meaning for me. Stand out points  dor tearsinclude Siuan and Gareth’s death, Egwenes talk with Rand. The second especially got to me because it wasn’t a point I expected myself to cry at. So when I did it was pretty overwhelming

Rage of a Demon King (Book 3 The Serpentwar Saga) by Raymond E Feist- Feist’s Riftwar series is a sprawling set of books that covers several generations of characters and sagas including the Serpentwar saga. One of my favourite characters is that of Jimmy the Hand, who later becomes Duke James. This book gets a mention on this list for the beautiful death of the Duke and his Duchess as the city he loves is finally overrun. In those final moments the two share a telepathic link and it’s at this point I become inconsolable. It’s both poignant and devastating.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K.Rowling- any of the many Harry Potter fans out there won’t be surprised to know which character I cried at (Dumbledore, of course) but it wasn’t for the reason you might expect. Scroll back 2010, 15 year old me had just received my first ever MP3 player. It was so cool but it only came with two songs, one of which I didn’t like. The other song was played on repeat for weeks before I worked out how to put more songs on! The song in question was “Yesterday once more” by the Carpenters, which is a pretty sad song. During this time I was reading Harry Potter and the song just really got me emotional, so when Dumbledore I was just...gone...tears everywhere.


Atonement- This film is a little bit dark but has a beautiful twist that never fails to crease me up. I used to watch it practically monthly in my teens just for its cry-producing qualities alone.

UP!- I confess, I’ve yet to make it past the first 10 minutes because I’m so upset I usually turn it off. 

The Boy in the Striped pyjamas- it’s strange, I’ve read the book but it didn’t make me cry. The way the film ends is amazing and justmakes me cry buckets.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1- yep Dobby, nothing more needs saying.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2-I really though Fred’s death was understated in the film and a bit lost in the grand battle scenes, despite this the tears appeared. I think it’s the thought of the surviving twin that really sets me off.

So there you go! That’s quite a list! Now I’m off for my own little crying jag, let me know if you agreed with any of my tearjerkers. If you do your own list, let me know because I’d love to see it!

Abi x
p.s. head to Xleptodactylous for the original post!

Saturday, 12 September 2015

5's: 5 things about Autumn

If you read my post this morning then you'll know all about my new series "5's". If you didn't, no judgement, then it's pretty simple. 

Every Saturday I'll post a list of 5's, it can be 5 things about anything!

This week we have: 5 things about Autumn!

  1. Rainy days: Is there anyone who doesn't love being inside and dry on cold miserable I day? Not that we don't get Rainy days in Summer (we do, this is Britain) but Autumn rainy days are somehow that little bit better.
  2. Cosy clothes: Even though the weather means you can get away with jumpers and scarves in Summer, Autumn is their natural habitat. I personally cant wait to get my big thick scarf out the wardrobe! What cosy clothes are you waiting for?
    My big, red, chunky scarf
  3. Halloween: "But Bluestripedsquare, aren't you 21? Surely you are too old for such nonsense!" I hear you cry. Well no, I love Halloween and that is that.
  4. Clocks go back: An extra hour in bed? Don't mind if I do... We in Britain mess around with time twice a year simply to orchestrate more sleeping. Yes, really... This year, Daylight Savings end is on 25/10/15, and the clocks go BACK 1 hour.
  5. Colours: Autumn is a beautiful time of year, in which nature shows us some beautiful sights and lots of vibrant colours. Head out to the parks and local countryside to really make the most of this beauty!
There you have it. Your first 5's post! 

What would go on your Autumn 5?

Abi x

Something new and exciting!

My blog is very varied, mostly because I have a lot different interests. I quite like that bluestripedsquare is a little all over the place because its a more realistic reflection of my personality. That being said, I want to try and add a little more structure to my ramblings

So starting from this weekend I'm going to begin a new series of "5's". They'll go up weekly on a Saturday and cover a variety of topics. Any suggestions on topics are welcome, the weirder the better! 

For the rest of my blog, I'll hopefully be starting a new job soon, so I'm proposing a rough posting schedule for Tuesdays and Thursdays. There may be other posts in between but they will be my regular dates for all my other bits and bobs.

Phew, that's over and done with!

Yet, it is Saturday today.... So I'll be posting my first 5's post this evening!

See you later!

Abi x

Friday, 11 September 2015

Progression and Overload

Progression and overload

During my time at Uni the most useful exercise principles I learnt were those of progression and overload.

The lecturers taught us these in conjunction with strengthening muscles. The idea is to strengthen you have to overload a muscle, fatiguing it, to cause a cellular change. The more you do the stronger that muscle it will get until doing the same exercise isn’t enough anymore, you have to progress and make it harder.

So using the two principles together makes you stronger.

Why am I mentioning this?

Today instead of reading before work I decided to add in a little weights routine. I used to use the weights pretty regularly, back when I went the gym but haven’t used any in quite a while. I’m not really sure why, but mostly because I’ve been busy lately and lazy in the free time I have. I have to admit I was feeling a bit anxious about starting again and have to work my strength levels back up. Yet I surprised myself and actually really enjoyed the workout!

It was during the workout that I realised that those some two principles I utilised in exercise could apply to my life.

 In a metaphorical sense, of course.

I realised that even though things aren’t great at the moment I can progress forward. I can use this hard point to make myself stronger. 
Even though feels like I’m overloaded I’m going to come out the other side better for it.
I’m going to keep struggling on, write the hell out of this dissertation and I know going to feel great and strong when it’s done.

So because of this I’ve been looking at a few things that I can begin challenging myself with. I’m considering signing up for next year’s Chester half marathon!

Are there any challenges you can recommend for me? 

Abi x

Ps I really advocate the benefits of strength training; it’s really good when used regularly within a mixed exercise programme 

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Why Rugby League is the sport for me...

I guess you could call me a Sports chameleon. I find it very easy to just slip into a sport and get caught up. For years I was in a very football dominated household, and although I enjoyed those many evenings, I never really felt involved. I could talk about how well individual players were playing but ask me where the teams were in the table, and you would find a blank stare.

I was the same for any sport though, not just football. I would avidly watch the Six Nations but couldn’t name a rugby union club if you paid me!

So when I first got together with my boyfriend, a loyal lifetime Rugby League supporter, I again happily sat down and watched with him. I already understood some of the basics having seen some Union before but had to do a bit of googling to get some of the finer points. As my familiarity with the sport and the players grew I found myself looking forward to games, rather than liking them when they were on

Around 4 months into our relationship my partner took me to a match (Leeds Rhinos vs Melbourne Storm). It was this point that I think things began to change for me. I had never enjoyed watching a sport as much as I did that night. Its cliché but from then I was hooked.  

The programme from my first Rugby League game.
Fast-forward another two years or so and I can safely say I’ve achieved full indoctrination. I love watching the games, live or televised. I’ve lost count of the number of games I’ve been to, I’ve attended not one but TWO impressive Challenge Cup finals down in Wembley. Rugby League has truly become a part of me.

Rugby League had converted me from an ignorant neutral to true believer in less than three years.

When I think back to those first few games, I can only be amazed I didn’t fall in love sooner.
 I mean, in every game there is action. A nil game is a rare and wondrous occasion. The speed in which the ball is played means that there is always opportunity for brilliance and destruction.

The athleticism of the players is unrivalled; the tries scored use every fibre of strength and ingenuity a player has to offer and are frankly spectacular.

The Six tackle rule means that play is constant and rarely stalls. Teams must plan for that sixth tackle which frequently produces try situations.

Finally, although I could name more amazing attributes, the thing that drew me in was the supporters. The Rugby League community is by far one of the most inclusive.

When Danny Jones, a Keighley Cougars player, passed away in May 2015, the community rose to the aid of his widow, Lizzie Jones, and their twin babies.  Since then, nearly £250,000 has been raised to support his family.

Keegan Hirst, captain of Batley Bulldogs came out as the first openly gay Rugby League player, he was shown overwhelming support from the fans for his courageous decision.

I personally cannot imagine responses such as these happening in any other sport but Rugby League.

I, for one, am very proud to call myself a fellow fan.

Abi x

P.s. to donate to the Danny Jones fund head to à

To read about Keegan Hirst’s amazing story head to à

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

One tea does plenty

Last night I slept absolutely awful. 

Unfortunately that’s pretty common for me when I’m even the slightest bit stressed out. Normally, if I need to be up for uni or work etc I can usually drag myself out of bed and make myself get up.

At the moment however, I don’t have anything to get for, so I’ve been trying to make sure I get up early enough to see my boyfriend off before he goes to placement.

This morning he told me to not get up and stay in bed a little bit longer. I did and woke up about an hour or so later feeling a lot more refreshed.  Yet I felt pretty down about not seeing him off this morning until I came downstairs and found a mug of cold tea sat on the kitchen table.

(The one mug to rule them all....)

I mean, how awesome is that? That someone could care enough to take the time to do one thing to make your day better? I must admit it made me smile.

He’s knows me so well and always manages to make me smile, be it making me a wee cuppa or doing something goofy.
It’s the best  J

Is there anyone who always makes you smile?
Abi x

p.s. I reheated the tea in the microwave, cold tea is just not my thing...

Monday, 7 September 2015

Book review 1 //The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett (SPOILERS)

Before the book

For many years I’ve been reading Terry Pratchett's books, ever since I was perusing my Dad’s bookshelf and the magnificent cover of the Colour of Magic caught my eye. I remember wondering what colour magic would be. I imagined it to be a multitude of varying hues but was curious what colour Pratchett would suggest so I began to read...

 Terry Pratchett, Jingo

From then on it has been a relationship of love.  I’d eagerly await the next book, read it over a few days then be left pining for more. At this point I’d go back and flick through a few favourites to stave off the hunger for more.
I remember exactly where I was, when I got the news Pratchett sadly passed away earlier this year. I was on a train back from placement, along with a fellow student. 

I remember that feeling of loss at the news of his death, feeling like a little part of me died as well. I remember telling my fellow student and being surprised that she’d never heard of him. This was strange for me, how someone who has had such a massive influence on my life and personal development could be nothing to someone else. Part of what was so devastating was the knowledge that there would be no more new Discworld novels to read. That the crazy, detailed, beautiful world would no longer be explored.

Terry Pratchett, The Last Continent

So when I first heard about The Shepherd's Crown I felt a mixture of feelings. Happy:yes there would be one more book! Sad: I had already consoled myself to the end of Discworld, would I have to do so again? Confused: I only heard about it a few days before its release! Nervous:would it live up to the previous books as it wasnt quite as polished as Pratchett intended??

I told my Dad, who bought it promptly one rainy day in Birkenhead. I then had to wait him to finish it before I could start! When I finally received the book I devoured it in two days.

The Shepherd's Crown, by Terry Pratchett

The book (Spoilers)

So I cottoned on pretty quickly that Granny Weatherwax was going to die. Due to this my impressions of the first hundred pages were through teary eyes. Esme Weatherwax falls neatly under my category of favourite literary characters ever, so I really hit me that she was dead.

The book centres on this event, in that her death leaves the Discworld susceptible to the Elves. Pratchett’s elves are a thing of beauty twisted with darkness that must be defeated by the young with Tiffany Aching. Tiffany, however, is preoccupied by being a successful witch to both her own, and Granny Weatherwax’s steadings.  

In previous Discworld books, elves have been a “bad guy” that has cropped up a few times. In this book it’s interesting to see how the new generation of witches deals with the threat in their own way.

New characters Geoffrey and Mephistopheles show that the Discworld will always challenge stereotypical gender roles. After all everyone knows that men can’t be witches! Part of me is sad that I will never know what ideas Pratchett had stashed away for these two characters. I’m sure if he had continued writing we would have see more of them in future books!

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the final addition to the Discworld series. Despite disclaimers that Terry Pratchett hadn’t got it up scratch before passing away, I found it to be as well written as any of his previous novels. There is a lot of irony in the death of Granny Weatherwax, as a strong character in the series and that of her progenitor.

The literary world will never see their ilk again.

It may take me a while but I will definitely be rereading this again, maybe when I’m more emotionally stable.

Abi x