Sunday, 26 February 2012

Weekend Wandering...

Last week my friend John and I went out a walk to the local country park, along with his (very overexcited) dog Lucy.  I learned more camera tricks and got to play with John's new macro lens, plus got out the house for a walk, as opposed to this weekend where getting dressed today just seemed like too much work... (it's actually shocking how often I stay in pjs these days, gotta get my wardrobe working again!)  John took my broken hard drive to fix, but turns out it's well and truly broken, so there goes all my pictures and music, gutted :(  My brother is giving me a new one, but still...  

Back to work tomorrow for 3 days, woohoo - got plenty to do tho so it should fly in!  Has everyone else had a good weekend?  


Thursday, 23 February 2012

Tagging games...

I've been tagged by Alex in this fun post, which I figured would be more interesting than showing more pics of me in my pjs....

So the rules are:

1) You must post 11 random things about yourself;
2) Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post;
3) Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer;
4) Go to their blog and tell them you've tagged them;
5) No stuff about 'you're tagged if you're reading this' - legitimately tag people.

Here's my 11 things first...
1 - I just can't make myself like fruit.  I've tried and failed, my mind is programmed more towards Fruitella...
2 - I always feel better wearing an outfit with heels.
3 - I fancy myself as a cool photographer - in reality I struggle with more than one camera setting.
4 - Sometimes I take notions to do jigsaws.
5 - I hate most tv, so my tv generally flicks between Viva and E4.  
6 - The highlight of my week is Cubs on a Thursday night - who would have thought one day I'd actually LIKE kids? ;)
7 - I've been watching the ER boxset since last summer.  I'm up to season 7.  Last week Mother was watching Holby City, which made me snort 'that's hardly realistic'...
8 - I can be minimalist about almost everything in life except the contents of my wardrobe - I need plenty clothing choices.
9 - No matter what I (or my hairdresser) do, my hair won't take hair dye for more than a few weeks.  Clearly I'm destined to be brunette forever.
10 - I HATE wind.  I'd rather spent the day inside than bother facing adverse weather.
11 - I long to live in a rural cottage somewhere, but I reckon I'd miss the gym and 24 hour Tesco too much.

And now Alex's questions for me...

1) Are you a morning or a night person?
Night night night!  I've never been good at getting up early - in fact if I start work earlier than usual (by this I mean 9ish) I'm falling asleep by noon!

2) Have you ever stolen anything? (be honest, I won't set the law on you)
My first job was in an ice cream shop.  That also sold fudge.  I'll let you work that out...

3) What is your favourite word?
FAFF!  Also 'awesome', 'totally' and 'cool' leave my mouth way too often.

4) What can't you live without?
Mother, my best friend and music. For sure.

5) Who/what do you have an irrational dislike of?
People rubbing their hands together.  Anyone coming ANYWHERE NEAR my neck or underarms.  I WILL get violent if you try.  Surprises.  Strictly Come Dancing (actually that one might be valid)

6) Where is your favourite place to eat out?
Man I LOVE to eat out, take me almost anywhere and I'll be happy.  Except for Indian food.  Don't care for food with tons of sauce...

7) Who is the cleverest person you know?
My mum.  Seriously, she's freaking knowledgeable considering she watches the worst of the tv schedule (soaps, reality dancing shows, that giving birth program, every single crime drama out there... can just about tolerate the latter but everything else gets blocked out by itunes!)

8) What was the last film that you saw at the cinema? Was it any good?
My friends and I did a double bill of 'The Vow' and 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' last week - the latter was good but missing huge chunks of the books, the former made me want to throw up from cheese overdose...

9) What is your guilty tv pleasure?
Big Fat Gypsy Weddings.  It's just too fascinating NOT to watch.  But usually I give reality shows a wide berth, American comedies and dramas are the way to go as far as I'm concerned.

10) Where did you last go on holiday?
New York!!!  Almost a year ago!  Best place ever, I was in absolute (freezing) heaven.

11) What makes you go "GAHHHHHHHHHHHHH"?
Anything to do with nails.  As in finger or toe nails.  As in my mums toe nail that is about to fall off that she keeps trying to make me look at.  Not gonna happen!  Or someone breaking a nail, long toenails, guys with long nails... Also that giving birth program, stuff like that should NOT be on tv, bleurgh!

Now my questions...
1 - What is the best job you've ever had?
2 - Your favourite item of clothing?
3 - If you could be anywhere, where would you be? (in life or location)
4 - Something you've always wanted but never got?
5 - The first movie you saw at the cinema?
6 - Your top played song on iTunes?
7 - The most practical/useful thing you own?
8 - Would you rather be taller or shorter (if you HAD to chose!)?
9 - Your longest standing hobby?
10 - If you had an hour to kill what would you do?
11 - The best thing that's happened to you so far this year?

Ok I'm tagging the following fabby bloggers!

Jade from Jetley Mess and Emma from Emsipop also tagged me for the Versatile Blogger award - thanks!  It kinda has a similar theme as this one tho so I'm just combining them... ;)


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Stripes and spots...

Jumper - TK Maxx
Dress - charity shop
Shoes - Topshop

I finally braved the weather yesterday and set off down the street to be all productive for a change.  Got a pic taken for my new passport (as predicted it's hideous so no, I'm not sharing), did some bank stuff and was generally quite well behaved in the shops - until I drove out to Asda and accidentally bought junk food...oops...  Food seems to me like a valid thing to spend money on though, plus I got thoroughly overexcited when I realised they were now stocking Ruffles, awesome American crisps - hopefully the Walmart influence will get stronger!  (actually my brother told me they occasionally stock Cheetos in the foreign foods aisle - cue much squealing from moi and a resolve to shop in Asda more often)

Today is about sorting eBay stuff before heading to work, my fave things, although I've just noticed I hit 100 followers so thanks to all the lovely people that read my ramblings, you guys are awesome!

Oh and the winner of my Woman in Black giveaway is...
Chloe Likes to Talk!
(I used one of those Randomiser things but couldn't get it to copy to the post...if anyone know what I'm doing wrong please help!)


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Swap Goodies!

Recently I participated in Char's Random Act of Kindness swap and got paired up with the awesome Rai over at Blargle Fargle (her blog is so fun, love her Geek Chic posts!).  Anyway she sent me these fab goodies - bath confetti, heart shaped sticky notes and STICKERS!  In case you can't tell, I got a bit excited about these, hence why they're photographed out the packet and with the missing ones carefully cropped out... ;)

Thanks Rai and Char!


Monday, 20 February 2012

My Guide to being a cheapskate

Here's the thing - it's a pretty well known fact that I'm a cheapskate.  My friends are more polite and call me 'thrify' or 'careful with money' but I feel like I may as well state the obvious.  So I thought I'd share some of the tricks I use in order to live up to my name!  I've very helpfully sorted this post into categories for your reading pleasure, and if you have anything to add please do, I welcome all money saving advice!

I can’t big up charity shops enough, half my wardrobe is thrifted buys, which means I can buy quality clothing at ridiculously cheap prices.
Dont just shop the womens department – I’ve found plenty of suitable stuff in the men’s section and even kids if you go for the bigger sizes.  This method works especially well in charity shops or at final clearance time (especially in H&M or Topman, love their menswear!)
Make sure you have even basic sewing skills – knowing how to take up a hem or sew on buttons are essential and easy!
If there’s something specific you need (ok, want sometimes) try and wait for sales or look out for money off vouchers – I need Tall range jeans/trousers but I almost never pay full price.
Also use the treasure/junk trove that is eBay – I’ve had a few items of clothing from there at even better prices, but unless I’m looking for something special I tend to favour charity shops (no postage costs!)
If someone buys you something truly hideous, try to return it – even if you get a gift card or exchange it for some tights (or a pressie for someone else!), better that than something you’ll never use.
Sometimes quality has to win – for me it’s running shoes, sports bras and underwear, but I still try to wait for sales or search eBay (in the New section of course ;))

I find when my hair is longer, it needs cut less and just sits better because of it – in fact during my very poor days I realised that the longer I stayed away from my hairdresser, the easier my hair was to style! (this logic makes no sense to me either...)
I epilate my legs and shave underarms, my razors last way longer this way!
Use the discount stores to look for brand names cheaper – Watt Brothers, Original Factory Shop, Savers or Poundland are my faves (dunno if the first two are Scottish only tho?), and we just got a Wilkinsons here which I’m loving as a Woolworths replacement J
Again, shop different departments – I go straight to the baby section for cotton wool/buds (half the price, if not less) and often use baby lotion instead of moisturiser.

Crush up a pack of melba toast as a cheaper alternative to soup croutons
Shop around if you have time and are within easy distance of a few grocery places – the bigger ones are good for offers but Farmfoods and Lidl have super low prices on certain things all the time!
I’m super stingy and mostly my weekly shopping consists of whatevers on offer that week (BOGOF, half price, 2 for £...)
Shopping the offers also allows me to buy a brand up for the same price as a basic brand sometimes (Aunt Bessies on offer makes my week!)
Having said that, get to know what Value products you like and dont – for example I’ll quite happily eat value soup or cereal but baked beans have to be M&S!
Always look for reduced items , especially if you can freeze them or will be eating them soon – I hit M&S about 5.30pm one day last week and came out with a pile of my fave things for an awesomely low price!
I have two refillable water bottles (one for home, one for work) that I carry around instead of buying water
Don’t always follow the instructions on the label – if I’m using a pasta sauce/bake, I find using much less than what the jar says is more than enough.  Same goes for washing powder.

Run or walk outside when possible – I have a membership to the council gym cause it's the way I prefer to exercise but it costs less than half what the private gym does.
Also walk/cycle instead of driving if you can – good for the waistline and budget!
I have an Amazon wishlist, which has made getting birthdays and Christmas pressies much more enjoyable since I’m actually getting something I’d like!
Or if people want to ignore this, make it clear what stores you would prefer gift cards for, or ask for toiletries (I’m all about the practical pressies!)
This works the other way too – a few of my friends have Amazon lists, or if not I always ask if there’s something they’d like before buying , no point wasting money on something they’re going to return!
For buying bigger items (camera, laptop etc), compare online before purchasing ALWAYS!
Same goes for car insurance, altho in my case I’ve had good renewal deals with the last 2 places I’ve used, so this method isn’t always cheapest, but try it first.
I look for books and DVDs at car boots sales or in the cheaper charity shops, or of course you could take advantage of the library – not much makes me happier than the magic of that place!
Get online banking – I actually switched banks so I could get this and could not be happier with it.  Its made my life so much easier now I can see exactly where my money is without having to traipse to the bank and be accosted by smiley ‘helpers’.

Slight cheat here, but I only have mobile net and my mum has magic fast ‘unlimited’ broadband, so on my weekly trip to visit I get as much net stuff done as I can!
I never drive over 60mph – on longish distances this saves a noticeable amount of petrol (the number one thing I totally resent shelling out for...)
I used to live right near Tesco so mostly shopped and got petrol there – this meant I built up reasonable Clubcard points and have had years of my magazine subscription (Total Film) costing me nothing.
Last year I rented DVDs from three different companies, and by using a few methods I only paid about 3 months subscription in total.  Take advantage of free trials, which you could do again when you change address or bank cards (or maybe rope in your parents/flatmate? ;)), and often when you cancel the company will send you emails with discounts to entice you back.  I even managed to get 4 cinema tickets from the trials too :)
Really go thru your cupboards from time to time and take inventory – knowing exactly what you have means you’re not tempted to buy more when you go out, toiletries and tights/socks being the main offenders for me...

Or there’s the most simple and effective way to save money – just don’t go near any shops!  Works for me!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Family Flashbacks - Hand Knits

Since we're in that horrid post Christmas phase of battling the rotten weather (or in my case, staying in more than usual), I thought this weeks flashbacks could have a bit of a theme.  And what better way to keep out the cold than wearing that awesome knitted jumper/cardigan made by your crafting obsessed relative (Mother or Gran in my family...and now me!)
Kinda love this outfit...

Mother looking rather smart

My auntie - her mother is an equally obsessive knitter!

Yes I'm in a box...who knows why...

Am I the only one seeing some kind of gnome...?

My cousin in Mr T fashion!  And my other cousin in a rather cute blouse...

Bodywarmers! (I HATE these with a passion)

Brother having just broken his arm...

How cute is my wee brother in his Aran cardi and stripes?!
Long live knitting!


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Leopard simplicity...

M&S jumper - charity shop
M&S top - charity shop
BHS skirt - charity shop
Tights - eBay
Shoes - Converse

Mickey bracelet - Disney World
Bangle - charity shop
Just a quick little outfit post today since I'm racing off to work soon to see my best friend (excited!).  This was from Saturday when I was having one of those 'I hate everything in my wardrobe' moments...  Turned out ok tho I think!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway if you fancy winning The Woman in Black book!


Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Best Hoodie Ever...

Hoodie - H&M mens
Tshirt - Hanson concert...
White tshirt - Target
Skirt - Topshop
Boots - Converse

Back of this fabby tshirt!

So the other day I was blethering about having found a new favourite hoodie, well here it is!  A few years ago I had an obsession with grey knits so this took me back a bit!  Whilst wandering H&M sale I found it tucked in the men's rack, one left, size small, with fleecey lining and a hood - it was clearly destined to be mine, so I grabbed it and made a beeline for the tills.  And haven't really taken it off since.  In fact the other day at work I came up with a fun game of putting the hood up and hiding a bit, really works!  Until our general manager came visiting my cave and had a bit of a laugh at me...  The rest of the outfit also contains some of my fave things - boots, cute skirt, recently remodelled fave band T and long sleeve T for layering it up, anything to keep the cold out!

The hoodie is firmly in place at the mo, and will be on this afternoons walk with my camera savvy friend - really I just need him to further teach me how to use my camera and fix my broken hard drive (beyond GUTTED that its started making crunching noises...), but a walk seemed like a good plan for fitting in some yapping too!

Hope everyone's having a fun filled weekend!


Saturday, 11 February 2012

Book vs Movie - The Woman in Black

Another book/movie comparison!  This one was less tedious than my last review for sure... (check out One Day here)

Well this was an interesting comparison to make...  I received the book for my birthday last year but was saving it to read just before the movie.  Now, time and time again I’ve done this and ruined the movie for myself by nit picking (I tend to favour the books surprisingly), but I really learned my lesson this time.  Mostly because the book is really nothing like the movie.  At a mere 160 pages, I read most of it the other night at work, and it didn’t get properly scary until about page 153... so I can see why screenwriter Jane Goldman took some liberties.  But still, respect the source material I always think.  

  In the book, the story is told by Arthur Kipps, a middle aged man looking back on an event that changed his life when, as a young lawyer eager to prove himself, he was sent to the mysterious old house of an eldery client who has recently passed, in order to sort out her affairs.  There he encounters supernatural goings on and villagers unwilling to shed any light on the subject.  And I’m just gonna say right now, for all that the writing a little dull and too descriptive most of the time, the ending is goooood.... ;)  (Not sure exactly when the book was set, but I took a guess at the 1910s, judging by a couple of clues in the text.)

Now the movie.  Meh.  Standing alone, I’d say it was good.  Not amazing, and one scene in particular was ridiculously stupid (marsh diving, that’s all I’m saying!), but not terrible overall.  In fact when I was reading the book, I felt a slight vibe of The Others, and the film gave off a mild whiff too, although the 12A cert (yup you read that right) ensures that any ‘scary’ scenes are seen coming a mile off.  Really though, in reviewing both the movie and the book, it’s rather obvious that the only thing to really stay the same was the characters names.  The book had cheerful, helpful, if slightly guarded support characters – in the movie the whole tone has been changed to make everything dark and very formulaic of a horror movie.  The whole start of the book with older Arthur was dropped, a good idea though I reckon - we all know from Harry Potter that Dan Radcliffe with aging make up still looks like Dan Radcliffe age 15.  But Arthur Kipps entire back story was changed – instead of being a happy go lucky chap with a fiancee, he was a depressed man with a dead wife and an infant son.  Eh what?!  However the reason for this becomes clear when the ‘Woman in Black’ also takes on a different persona, and you’ll see the end coming a mile off...  Oh yeah, they changed that too, surprised?

  The imagery though is superb, and even with the sometimes obvious jumpy bits, the sets have an awesomely creepy vibe, especially the nursery room – 19th century toys are not something I ever wish to see again, makes me glad to be a child of the 1980s!  Overall two good methods of entertainment so long as you treat them as separate adaptations, or you may go crazy making comparisons like I did.

  I’m giving away a copy of the book here, so if you’d like a chance to win please just leave me a comment and an email address so I can contact you! (ends Friday 17th February)

Anyone read/seen The Woman in Black?  What did you think?


(p.s. I’m now reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which is wonderful but the movie is released this week....I may be about to repeat this episode!)

Thursday, 9 February 2012

New shoes and movie reviews...

Cardi - Topshop Tall
Dress - charity shop
Tights - eBay
Shoes - Hush Puppies via TK Maxx

necklace - Claires (5 for £5 sale!)

I wore this the other day to do some shopping - funny thing, when shoes are the comfiest things ever in the store it doesn't always mean they'll actually be comfy...  These were rubbing my heels before I got round the corner, and my ankles clearly didn't like walking on stable heels for a change, it was all a bit stumbly and achey - hoping I've broken them in now tho!  The random pic with my scarf is from when it was too cold to be without it (better pic here), my place is freezing right now!

So as you may have noticed on Twitter, I previewed The Muppets this morning - and 6 hours later I'm still on a high, it was an amazing musical feel good movie with the best list of cameos I've ever seen (look out for Emily Blunt at her 'Devil wears Prada' best and Jim Parsons as a human muppet) - lots of squealing was going on!  Plus singing along to Rainbow Connection and welling up at all the happiness, my lead for Movie of the Year so far! (and yes I was watching it myself you'll be pleased to know, so no-one else heard the awfulness that is me trying to sing ;))

Tomorrow is 15 hours at work, not helped by volunteering to preview The Woman in Black - stand by for more reviews!


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Faff Guide to Movies of 2011 - Worst

After sharing my top picks of 2011 movies, of course I had to share a round up of the absolute worst.  And there were rather a lot...  In my defence, most of the ones I saw at the cinema were ones I had to print check at work, not stuff I would have seen voluntarily, which actually reassured me that my taste in movies is indeed awesome ;)

Worst Movies of the Year - Cinema
 My lord, there were some mega stinkers in here - Yogi Bear was by far leading the Worst race until Red Riding Hood came along.  Despite that it looked like a Twilight knock off (same director I think), it had Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman, which usually equates to an at least watchable movie in my opinion.  This was in fact Medieval Twilight - the dad was even played by the same guy!  Huge Miss.

Other crap I watched at work - Attack the Block (the aliens were the worst ever - sometimes films need CGI), Three Musketeers 3D (soooo totally beyond cheesy - the only good part was the end battle which I bloody missed cause I fell asleep!) and Chalet Girl (I'll let you work out whether she gets the guy at the end...).

Unfortunately I actually went to see Hereafter (nothing HAPPENS!!!), Apollo 18 (not even close to scary enough) and Cowboys and Aliens (looooooooong and can't even remember if Dan took his top off, I slept thru part of this too).  Also on the stinkers list was One Day (which I reviewed here) and Transformers 3 (I was possibly the only person to like the second one, but the hour long battle here tipped me over the edge).

Worst Movies of the Year - DVD
 Now in my defence, half of these were not picked by me (having an equally movie obsessed boyfriend for half the year is only good if he has taste... ;))  I mean, Leap Year?! (he said it was cause his parents are Irish and he wanted to see the scenery - that was the ONLY good thing)  Knight and Day?! (I think we can all guess what happens there)  Date Movie?! (ok we both picked that, there was nothing else on tv.  It's every bit as bad as it looks)  Equally as predictable was When Harry met Sally - I'd heard it was a classic comedy and somehow thought it may go against the usual soppy ending.  It did not.  High hopes dashed.

Happy Go Lucky was picked cause I was having a Sally Hawkins moment - and it was utterly boring, with one of the most annoying lead characters ever.  The Big Lebowski, cause I was trying to like the Coen brothers, which is not happening, I just don't GET them...  Season of the Witch, cause of the legendary Nicholas Cage, but not even he could save this drab effort.  And Highlander, which I always felt like I should see for some was awful, but watching Sean Connery attempting an accent always makes my day - that guy can't be anything but Scottish!

Worst Directors of the Year
I feel like Woody Allen and the Coen brothers names are always getting thrown about in relation to their 'smart comedy' type movies.  Now, clearly I'm not that smart, cause I don't get it.  I watched movie after movie of theirs last year in an attempt to see what all the fuss is about - and I disliked every one.  Annie Hall, You will meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Fargo, Raising Arizona, True Grit - add to that the ones I had already seen and... I'm done now!

(Although the first film my best friend and I watched together at work was Vicky Christina Barcelona and we ended up bonding over how utterly sh*t it was - this led to us inventing The Sighing Game, where we each took turns to see who can sigh the loudest and longest.  Which developed into the Poking Game, where we really just ended up poking fingers in each others ribs and shoving each other...)

So now it's over to you!  What's the worst movie you've seen?  Agree with my reviews or not? 


Monday, 6 February 2012

Star bright...

Blouse - Matalan
Jeans - Topshop Tall
Boots - New Look

Well I seem to have taken a bit of a hiatus, apologies!  My entire life seems to be revolved around work or worrying about it these days, which takes up far too much energy for my liking...  This outfit was worn the other day when Mother decided to come up for some shopping, which benefited me as usual, altho I did some extra shopping after she left, and got some great bargains.  H&M sale was the best, most of their stuff is heavily marked down now but there's still plenty of crammed racks in my local one - I got a suede shirt for £5 and the Best Hoodie in the World for £10 (fleece lined and so cosy!).  Plus my fave bargain - remember when I bought this skirt but thought it was a bit expensive for something slightly impractical?  Well I returned it, and lo and behold there it was on the sale rack - for a much more reasonable £5!!!  Mine now ;)

Today has been spent in pjs, trying to catch up on blogs - was slightly distracted when my flatmate came home earlier, thrust a pizza menu in my direction and told me he was buying dinner, wasn't gonna say no to that!  My stuffed crust cravings have now been temporarily silenced again, and my weekend of eating crackers and cheese cause it was too cold to be in our staffroom is forgotten...

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