Saturday, 31 October 2015

5's: 5 things about HALLOWEEN

Not to jump on the blogging bandwagon too quickly, but let's face it, Halloween is cool.
 So cool, I'm doing a 5's post on it. On Halloween. Noticing a trend here?
Guys, no-one is happier than I am about how nicely things work out here. 
So this post is on 5 things about Halloween.
This guy is happy it's Halloween...
  1. Black// I may be 21 and long past my stereotypical angst phase, but I've never lost my attraction to all shades dark. The majority of my wardrobe consists of darker shades and a fair whack of black. Halloween is the perfect time for me to showcase my love story with those darker shades.
  2. Horror films// If I'm honest, I am shite with Horror films. Literally the biggest baby ever. Sill, Halloween is the time of year when they all come crawling out of the woodwork (sometimes literally). This year I am getting into the swing of things and intend to watch a horror film. I also did my first ever Pumpkin Carving!!!Admittedly I did choose one I'd already seen before. SO a bit of a cop out, but tough shit, it's my night after all
  3. Scary stories// this ties in a little with number 2. Monsters. I loooove monster stories. Yeah, I'm totally inconsistent and can't handle watching  them. Reading is my jam. I think, this probably down to the fact that books are only as scary as you imagine them to be, and my imagination is a logistical smart arse who won't let them be too scary for me. Thanks, imagination.
  4. Costumes// Is there anything cooler than Halloween costumes? Perfect excuse to go all out and scare the living shit out of someone! At the moment, I'm loving some of the really creative tutorials we've been seeing on the blogs recently!
  5. Sweets// As a Physiotherapist I am a keen advocate for eating a healthy and balanced diet. As a human being however, I have a really bad sweet tooth. Halloween is like the initiation to the time of year where it's not only acceptable to eat goodies, but also tradition. 
What do you like about Halloween? 

Abi x

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Book review 4 // Scaramouche by Rafael Sabitini

How is this only my fourth book review? Need to step up my game here!

This is the second Infinite variety book club read that I've taken part in, the first being Stardust by Neil Gaiman.

I've rated this book 2.4/5.
 Yep 2.4, because overall I just wasn't that impressed.  It was quite difficult for me to really get into it properly for, say, about 60 pages. I just felt that I was waiting and waiting for a while, y'know? Part of that I think was to do with the style of prose. Sabatini's sentences simply went on and on and on. Sometimes taking up whole paragraphs. I found this lengthy prose quite hard to settle into but I did persevere.

 Now, don't be quick to judge. People read for a number of reasons. My primary reason is that I enjoy reading new things. Normally if I'm not enjoying a book then I stop reading. It ain't rocket science. In this case I decided to keep reading on.
Thankfully, as the book went on, I enjoyed it more and more, which I'm glad about. I really was tempted to leave it after the first 50 pages or so. 

The book redeemed itself with its lovely characters, however. Andre-Louis is charming and captivating. He makes a bold proclamation against one of society's most privileged, in the name of friendly honour. 
Naturally this backfires and its there that we follow this character as he attempts to avoid his own retribution. 

Aline, is probably my favourite character. In the time period the book is set, (approximately the French Revolution) it takes serious  guts to take control of your own marriage prospects and then potentially messing up those prospects. I found her to be both refreshing and innovative within the confines of the story.

Although it's a book I've wanted to read in the past, I chose to do so in conjunction with October's Infinite Variety Bookclub. I think, this more than anything made me read on. It's nice to think that I've benefitted from taking part of this month's read. 

Overall, I've really enjoyed having this to read on my commute (train portion). I would recommend Scaramouche to someone else, but more as a curiosity and less for the simple pleasure of reading.

Have you read Scaramouche? What did you think? 

Abi x

Monday, 26 October 2015

Pumpkin carving fun!

So as we are in the lead up to Halloween (woo!), Lewis and I decided to spend are afternoon doing a wee bit of pumpkin carving!
My pumpkin carving

I'll confess it's something I've never done before, but Lewis had, so I bowed to his wisdom throughout. 
 We picked up a couple of decent sized pumpkins for £2 each and had an afternoon of fun.
At first I did try drawing out my design on paper, except I couldn't decide what I wanted!! So I ended up winging it with a more traditional looking jack o lantern.
Lewis's pumpkin carving
Now, having not carved pumpkins before I was quite unprepared for how messy it would be. I can imagine if I was a few years younger I'd have adored making such a mess (okay maybe I enjoyed it a little more than I'm suggesting...). 
Another bonus is if you're a bit more thoughtful than I was you could save and reuse some of the innards. Roasted pumpkin seeds anyone?
Now, for some pictures....
The "before" picture..

In conclusion, it was loads of fun letting my creative side just play around. 
We are already planning on making some more before next Saturday!! 

Whose pumpkin looks better? Mine or Lewis's??? ;)

Mine is on the right with pointy teeth, Lewis's the left
Abi x 

Saturday, 24 October 2015

5's: 5 things to do in an HOUR

We live in a busy society. It's undeniable. Everybody is rushing around, there is so much to do! When do we ever just take the time to relax? Save an hour, just for ourselves?Well, one of my favourite things about Autumn is that the clocks go back. This gives a whole extra hour. What can we do with this unprecedented (actually it happens every year so it is kinda precedented) allotment of time?

Here are a few ideas I had, in recognition of the end of Brtish Summer Time tonight! 
Taken from my Instagram. Clock; Dunelm, £12

  1. Bake// Last weeks 5's post (5 things I want to bake!) was all about things I want to bake that I haven't had time to. Pretty sure this would be a delicious use of my extra hour!
  2. Bath// An hour in the bath is probably a bit excessive (nobody likes prune fingers) but this one comes with an add-on. After a nice long bath comes the post-bath moisturisation! Do the works! Body butters? Check. Foot cream? Check. Face? Uh-huh. hands? you get the drill by know. How often do we just slap a bit of something on? Make yourself feel lovely pampered with this wee routine.
  3. Read// Yes, I am biased. I love to read and certainly don't lack opportunity. Not evryone is the same however. Maybe there's a book you bought that you've intended to read but just haven't managed ut yet. I'm sure you could make good headway in an hour!
  4. Tidy up// Tidy up? What is that strage thing? Yep. This one isn't as fun as the other suggestions. Maybe it's time you had a good tidy of something or a good sort out. It can be surprisingly therapeutic having a good ol' de-clutter. I'll admit I don't always have the time (or the motivation) to do more than a surface tidy, well it's time!
  5. Sleep// If I'm honest this is probably where my extra is going. An extra hour in bed is bliss, but it can be guilt free too! Or you can nap if that's your jam!

Sorry if you're not British and you don't play around with your clocks bi-annually. You're still allowed to do these, I'll let you. 

What else can we do in a spare hour?

Abi x

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Life update 3.5// the job

This is the post we've allll been waiting for. Well, maybe just me... I wrote a list of a few about a few of the things that have been going on lately and when I started talking about my new job it got a bit out of hand. 
It's getting its own little post rather than messing the flow of my previous post (can't fight the flow...yo).
Waves breaking over Filey rock. Not sure which bit represents me,
but y'know its alll poetic and shit.

The New Job// This is the biggie. So far it's been great, if a little daunting. I started off with a nice sized caseload that increased slowly then suddenly jumped right up. Yep. 
I'm getting the hang of things as quick as I can but that's not always good enough. I'm starting to hate being the "new" Band 5 because it beginning to feel like an excuse for when I can't quite get things right. Which happens a fair bit, the NHS is a big place y'know?
 Or for the innumerable times I just don't know something purely because no ones told me. Again happens quite a lot and it is Very Frustrating, with capital letters intended.

I still have a fair bit of computer training left to do, but thankfully one of my colleagues gave me an informal heads up, except I'm still super slow and bumbly. Better than nowt though.
I'm in a pretty large team, and while I haven't met everyone yet, they're all really friendly. No one seems to complain about my many silly questions.

We have a third year student in our team at the moment and wow, that makes me feel old! I was literally in her place just last year, now I'm fully qualified and independent. A lot changes in 12 months.
I still don't have a uniform and I'm continuing to wear my student uniform for the foreseeable future...grrrr. I feel like I've worked hard to qualify fully and yet I get the "are you a student?" every third person.

  On the plus side, I've been cycling to and from the station every day and I'm starting to gradually get a bit faster and hopefully a little fitter. It's freaking freezing in the morning, yet overall it's a pretty nice journey. In the morning, I usually see a few rabbits and squirrels. Admittedly, there have been a few close calls but the vet hospital is right  near the path should owt ever happen!
In the evening, I get a lovely view of the sunset over the marshes(woo!). Then once I'm at the station I get to chill on the train for half an hour.
This is me at the station; no make up and helmet hair to boot. Pretty sexy, eh??

I am enjoying the actual work thankfully. I've already met and treated some amazing people. I really think people are so varied and I love hearing the stories they have to share. I absolutely adore my patients, and I really am trying to get to grip with things ASAP so I can give the best care I can. 

So lots of ups and downs. Mostly downs here 

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Life update 3// the list

It's been a while since I last did a life update (that's a lie, it wasn't that long ago, it just FEELS it). Since my last one, quite a lots been happening. I've started a new job, attended a record breaking Grand Final, broke my phone (yep, really) and reached my 3 year anniversary with Lewis (erm, how?). So a fair bit to cram into just TWO weeks! I'm knackered just recalling it....therefore I'm going to kinda give a summary of my thoughts on each for you. Hopefully won't be too overwhelming that way!  Plus I like lists, you may or may not have noticed yet...

1) the Grand Final// ohmydayys. What a game. What a day. What a bloody good win!!! 
Yep Leeds won and I am verrrry happy about it. We met up with Lewis' Dad and sister and it turned out to be a pretty fun day. We even got back from the stadium in about an hour and a half, not too bad at all.

2)I broke my phone// Its been going for aaaggges but it's officially gone (RIP). Nothing even exciting happened, I simply dropped it on the way out from work and it totally destroyed the screen. There are CHUNKS missing. Time to move on I guess...
3) 3 year anniversary// yeah, yeah, yeah so what I hear you say? I'll admit I find it irritating too when smarmy couples rub their relationship status in everyone's face. Yet, I'm pretty happy about this one. For us, it's a truly significant amount of time. I just 21 (well not THAT long ago), so 3 years is one SEVENTH of my life. Okay not that much really, in the grand scheme of things. The point is I'm happy we've made it this far. Thankfully we now live together, in a house that is contracted for another year so reaching shouldn't be too hard. Can't, like, break the contract ya'know?
4) Starting a new job// Ha fooled you! You expected a little summary about the new job here didn't you? Didn't you? eh? Ah, forget it. 
Originally I started the summary of my new job but it took on a life of its own! So it's going to be in a separate post coming soon!

Keep your eyes peeled for my little updates 3.5 :)

What's happening with you guys?

Abi x

Saturday, 17 October 2015

5's: 5 things I want to BAKE!!

I looooove ( with extra o's) anything sweet and yummy. I love making things that are total treats. Sadly, it's been a long while since I've done any baking. Too long. I'm developing quite a list of things that I'd like to put my hand and making. 
This week's 5's posts is that very list!
On with the list...

An empty biscuit tin, full of promise... (woah! That was cheesy!)
  1. Tiffin// I'd never had this before or even heard of it, shocking I know. Not until, a few weeks back when the bf's parents were visiting and brought us some down.According to his Mum it's apparently easy to make.  All I know is that I scarfed down a lot in  a short space of time, oops! It's not strictly baking, as you pop it in the fridge to set but anything with biscuits and chocolate and syrup must be good for you...
  2. Brownies// This is one that I've baked before and if I'm honest, I'm bloody good at! It was my go-to choice for final days on placement (bribing my educator? nope, not me...) and whenever I was feeling a wee bit stressed. I like to decorate mine with some chocolate buttons on the top for a little variety. This is definitely on my list to be done again!
  3. Flapjack// I adore flapjack, but I've never made it before! I know that possibilities are endless on what you can add so I'd love to have a try, to see what I can rustle up...
  4. Chocolate Fudge Cake// This is actually a recipe my boyfriend has, passed down from his Mum (that gal sure can bake!). He's made it for me for my birthday in the past and I'd love to have a go myself. Or even if I just help out...licking the spoon counts, right?
  5. Apple Crumble// This is a recipe I got from MY Mum this time. My Mum is actually a coeliac (she's completely intolerant to wheat) so growing up she would use gluten free flour to make apple crumble rather than cake. Now baking cakes with gluten free flour is possible, but it can be tricky as they don't rise without extra assistance. Crumbles don't need to rise, and I actually prefer gluten free crumble! It usually goes a gorgeous golden colour! As I haven't made it in some time, it's going splat bang on this list!!
I'm not sure when I'll get around to trying these. Hopefully soon. Writing this post has made me really hungry though! 

Abi x
p.s. is there anything you've been meaning to bake recently?

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Tattoos// Q&A

I know this post won't be for everyone, but I love tattoos. I feel it's time that they had their moment on this 'ere wee blog. I'm hoping you'll get to know a bit more about me through this post, so I'm going to try and explain my history with tattoos!
This is the book series that inspired my tattoos. And a dagger. Always a dagger.
  1. Do you like tattoos?// Okay so this is obvious, I wouldn't do this post if I didn't. Both my Mum and my Stepdad have two tattoos each and I've always admired them. I really admire other peoples and how well they can reflect their personality and likes. 
  2. Do I have any tattoos?//Hell yeah! I have two tattoos (at the moment).They look almost like flash tattoos but they're actually two chapter icons from one of my favourite book series. I chose them for a few reasons. Number 1 being I really liked the pictures. Also, because the series in question is one that I've grown up with, starting it at the tender age of 9, and only reading the final book at 18. It's one my parents introduced me to, and we discuss it fairly often, and I live having that little link to them with me. I got this just before I turned 19 after walking into a local studio to ask how much each design would be and ended up walking out with both.
  3. Would you get more?// This is a definite yes. I would love, love, love more. It's been 2 years since I got my first two, and the desire for more is going strong. I don't intend to rush into getting more, not until I'm really sure what and where. It will be happening. 
  4. What would you get next?// I know this one. I want a dreamcatcher next, quite a large one with detailed feathers. I don't know where yet, which is why I haven't already done it (plus I has zero money). After that, I want to get a Celtic knot design because they're so pretty. I have a few pieces of jewellery of this style that I wear a lot and even a "how to draw Celtic knots" book, so I'm totally ready for more. I'm also considering getting an owl tattoo and a dagger, maybe. So lots of plans going on in the back of my head.
  5. Do your parents/family/friends approve?// I'm picking the 'rents for this one. My Mum and Stepdad both have tattoos and I'm particularly fond of my Stepdad's as my Mum designed them for him! I actually got mine done whilst housesitting fo them. I rang up and was just like"yeah, Mum got two tattoos done today. Bye now." Apparently my Mum had been in the middle of saying I was "boring" and I totally surprised her.My Dad doesn't like tattoos very much but respects other people's decisions to get them. I've been lucky on both sides really.
  6. Did your tattoos hurt?// The answer to this is: YES. It wasn't too bad, as my chosen designs were smallish and had no shading or colouring.The design also only went over a small amount of bone directly so I was mostly okay (using my Anatomy skills well). I have a really low pain threshold and whilst, I definitely didn't enjoy the sensation it wasn't a bad experience. 
I think this post tells you a little bit more about me. Anyone can answer these questions about tattoos o add their own, or ask me some more! 
I'm really curious to see how other people feel about good old tatts'.

Abi x

Saturday, 10 October 2015

5's: 5 Rugby League Firsts

The Super 's are over, the semi-finals just played and we are eagerly awaiting the results of the Grand Final tonight. In the past, I've made no secret of why I love Rugby League. 
Nor that I came to it after growing up mostly watching Rugby Union.
 As, I didn't grow up with League I'm still discovering more and more of its history on a regular basis. Despite my late start, I'm still amazed at how innovative a sport it truly is, and it's shocking at how many times it really did take the first step on new practices. 
There are some that I always (not sure why) associated more with Union but were actually initiated by League first. So this week's 5's post is dedicated to Rugby League.
No guesses on who I'll be supporting tonight...

  1.  1953-54: Rugby League hosted the largest crowd to attend a rugby game, during a Challenge Cup final replay between Warrington and Halifax. Crowds at the hosting Odsal stadium in Bradford were recorded at 102,575 but some estimates suggest it may have had up to 120,000 people watching the game! The record still stands in Britain to this day. 
  2. 1954: The first every World tournament to be held by either code of Rugby was held by League in France back in 1954. The home nation finished as runners-up to winner, Great Britain. At a time when we are immersed in the Union Rugby World Cup competition, it's interesting to look back and see that it has been around since 1987. 
  3. 1964: Substitutions allowed in Rugby League, only for injured players in the first half. 4 years later Rugby Union allowed their first substitutions within a game. 
  4. 1981: Players are penalised with a 10 minute "Sin Bin", Union utilised this in 2001. This is one of the 5 that I hadn't expected to find when I was researching the facts. I'm not sure why, but I just associated the Sin Bin with Union more. 
  5. 1996: This year saw the introduction of Video-based refereeing within Rugby League. It's grown to become an extremely useful tool for officials, adding an extra element to the game. If frustrating at times, as it can highlight errors that may have been otherwise missed, it's still a key part of top level Rugby League. 

A few interesting facts then! Do you know any? Abi x

Friday, 9 October 2015

Head's up!

Hi, everyone! This is just a little post giving you a heads up. This week I've started a new job. I'm finally(!) working full time as a Physiotherapist. This is my first role since I qualified and I have a lot to learn and a lot of responsibility to adjust to  very quickly.
This is a bird. It's here because I like this picture. That is all.
When I started my blog I was out of work and had plenty of time to do it. I've never blogged and had something else going on, until today. 
I have been a very busy bee this past week and scheduled a few posts and wrote a few drafts up. It's when these have run out that I'm going to probably slow down on posting. I mean, I don't know how well I'll adapt. I might be posting fine, I might not. 

No one knows.

So, once the scheduled posts are all out, there will probably be a change to my scheduling.
I am aiming to put out one 5's post and one other a week. 
Down to two a week from my normal 3+. 

I'm hoping this will be manageable for me, but we'll just have to wait and see.

So, that's my little "heads up". Any tips for me on managing full-time work and blogging?
Abi x 

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Would you rather: Book Tag!

I thought I'd try my hand at a Blog Tag! Being such a book lover, it was only natural I chose a book one as my first Tag. 
My favourite series, on one shelf. It's the only shelf of mine that is organised...
  1. Read a series or stand-alone books?// The answer to this is always going to be a series. I enjoy stand-alone books very much but far, far prefer a big meaty series to sink my teeth into.
  2. Rather read a book whose main character is male or female?// I'm actually going to say neither, I associate with both genders well. Although I haven't read many books that do so, I really enjoy when authors make use of non-binary genders and how this is represented within the world portrayed.
  3. Rather shop in a bookstore or online?// This is kind of a bit of both. I love going into bookstores and have a real good wander but I very rarely buy anything. I typically buy more books online.
  4. Would you prefer all books to become movies or TV shows?// This is a slightly loaded questions, after the success Game of Thrones has undeniably had as a TV show. It enables the show makers to expand into the world a lot deeper and more richer, yet there are some books that just aren't the same on the small screen (I'm looking at you, Legend of the Seeker). My answer is, if they have enough money behind them then they should give us million TV episodes, please.
  5. Rather read 5 pages per day or read 5 books per week?// 5 books a week, 5 pages a day would kill me! 
  6. Be a professional book reviewer or an author?// I'm only just getting into writing book reviews at the moment, but I'm really enjoying it so probably the reviewer!
  7. Rather read the same 20 books over and over or get to read a new book every 6 months?// New book every 6 months, I love discovering new stories.
  8. Would you prefer to be a librarian or own a book store?// A book store, so I can steer lots of people towards my favourite authors AND make a bit of money from it....MWAHAHA
  9. Rather only read your favourite genre or your favourite author?// well, my fave author falls within my fave genre sooo that's an easy one. Plus picking a genre means more books to read. Which means I win.
  10. Rather only read physical books or eBooks?// The majority of books that I read are eBooks but I still prefer physical books. Reading via a screen doesn't bother me but nothing quite beats the feel of a hefty book. Nor, dare I say it, the smell of a well-loved book. Whenever I buy a handbag my first thought is still "will I get my book and my purse in that?".
For my first tag, I actually really enjoyed writing this! I'm going to tag 

Abi x
P.S.Don't forget to send me your lists :)

Saturday, 3 October 2015

5's: 5 films my parents MADE me watch...

...that I actually LOVED! 
This list has 5 films my parents couldn't let me live without seeing and it turns out they were right!
  1. The Life of Brian (1979)// My Mum couldn't decide whether this was suitable for me to watch (age 10) and I distinctly remember her saying "F*** it, it's funny" and that was that. It's by far my favourite of the Monty Python films and I loved the many subtle and not-so-subtle jokes throughout it. Whether or not I always look on the bright side, I know I'm going to have this song stuck in my head the rest of today!
  2. The Long Kiss Goodnight(1996)// I remember my Dad putting this on one weekend, after me disdaining that it sounded boring. Famous last words. This is one bad ass film about a woman with amnesia who starts to find out about her past. It's absolutely brilliant, and I well and truly ate my words!
  3. The 51st State (2001)//The culprit this time? My Stepdad, insisted I watch this about 10 years ago, purely to show the shots that were taken from Birkenhead side of the Mersey. It's a film about a drug dealer who flies to Liverpool to try and sell a formula for a brand new high. Lots of randomness and a shit load of Scouse accents, what is not to love?
  4. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)// Okay, so picture me and my little brother (2 1/2 yrs younger so not that little) perusing our Fathers film collection when this comes out. Dad immediately says, YES you are watching that NOW! I pretty much ignored the first 15 mins or so, just picking up the odd detail, then ALL FRIGGING HELL BREAKS FREE.Like a stripper bar suddenly gets overrun with VAMPIRES. Dad conveniently didn't tell the two of us about this addition to the film and laughed, a lot at us.. Its mental and weird, but I loved this film! I'll admit I paid a lot more attention the second time round viewing...
  5. The Fifth Element (1997)// Saved the best til last. The FIFTH element for the FIFTH choice. Yep, I'm that cheesy! This film is one I will always rewatch, it includes ancient prophecies, orange hair, ruins and cool as' feck alien opera singers. Yep, ALL in one film. It's an absolute mish mash of a science fiction film but it also has genuinely funny moments and is a wee bit heartwarming.
I'm a little sad that of these 5 films I only have The Fifth Element in my personal collection. Shall remedy that shortly...
Abi x

P.s. have you seen any of these 5? What would you put on this list?

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Clinique: Airbrush Concealer REVIEW

Today's post is alll about one of my fave beauty buys. I picked up one of Clinique's Airbrush Concealer last year, after recommendations from my Mum. We both have similar skin types (mixed oily/dry) and she absolutely loves it. 
I had my reservations at first, my Mum's beauty tastes don't always match up to mine, if I'm honest. Yet my old concealer had run out so I decided to give it a go.

To cut a long story short, I was impressed. It goes on easily, and blends very well. I have it in the lightest shade and find it quite versatile. I've used it both under and over foundation before and also as a highlighter on occasion. Frequently, on days where I don't wear have much make up this will be one of the only products I use. It works well on both my oilier patches and drier skin, although sometimes it has dried those patches out a little more.

Sadly, it ran out a few weeks ago. It lasted around a year and a half, which I think isn't too shabby considering how much I used it. It's readily available from Clinique counters, or online.

However, on a recent shopping trip I remembered to pick up a new one. It's a little pricey at £19.00 but its definitely a product I'll rebuy again and again.

Have you tried this concealer before?

Abi x
P.s. I smartly picked mine up from Boots, used a voucher and racked up some Advantage points!