Thursday, 30 July 2015

Twenty Four


































So yeah on Tuesday I turned the grand old age of 24! And yes that is a Disney birthday cake!

My birthday was a fairly quiet one, but I had an absolutely lovely day that all started out with breakfast in bed whilst opening my cards. I then opened up my presents, which you can see below.
In the afternoon Josh and I went out to a really nice local pub for lunch where I had the biggest and best bacon and brie panini I've ever had and we spent a good couple of hours there with some drinks.
At night my Dad gave me the Disney birthday cake, very fitting seen as Josh and I are off to Florida next week and then Josh and I settled down to watch Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (which we've only just started but we're loving) with a glass (or two) of fizz and a slice of cake.

On Wednesday night Josh and I went out for yet more food as my Dad and stepmum took us for an Indian as a little birthday celebration. I wore the lovely dress you can just see above, Josh bought it for my birthday and it really has the loveliest colours on it. 

Just to drag my birthday out a little more too, I have a present to look forwards to after our holiday as Josh is paying for us to go to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park as a present, we're waiting until after the holiday though as I'm going to be pretty busy over the next week.

Here is a picture and a list of the presents I was lucky enough to receive

























Red wine // EVE mug (from Wall-E) // Lots of lovely chocolate // Tinkerbell sponge // Notebook // Kindle voucher // Paul McCartney Tug of War vinyl // Sinister blu-ray // Harry Potter Magical Places book // Dress // Finding Nemo blu-ray // Anti-stress art therapy colouring book and pencils // Minnie Mouse pjs // Money (pounds and dollars for Florida // A trip to the Yorkshire wildlife park // Two Nomination bracelet charms (not pictured as they're just too small) Tinkerbell and an American flag


Monday, 27 July 2015

The Beatles Music Collection

Long time readers will know I'm a huge fan of The Beatles so I thought it was about time I shared my Beatles music collection.

 First up I have three remastered albums in the form of Live at the BBc, Live at the BBC Volume Two and 1. 



















Next up I have three Beatles records, Help, A Hard Days Night and With The Beatles.




















And finally, and probably the crowning glory has to be my The Beatles Box Set - Remastered in Stereo.






















This box set had pretty much only just come out when I bought it and to be honest I'd not long since discovered The Beatles but I knew I just had to have this set. Yes it was pretty expensive but I'm so glad I bought it I just love the presentation (I'm a sucker for good packaging) and the booklets included with each album but as a real Beatles fan I'm really happy that it is something I have in my collection. When this box set was first released back in 2009 some of the first ones to go on sale had a slight fault. Each disc has a mini documentary on the end and on the disc of Magical Mystery Tour it says 'Let It Be mini-documentary' this is only a printing error as the correct documentary is on the disc. As I bought one of the first ones to go on sale mine features this printing error which was then corrected for later editions. Even though this error isn't super rare it does make it a bit more special.






















In the future I definitely plan on tracking down more records to add to my collection as frankly three just isn't good enough. I'd love to buy the US albums box set and the vinyl box set but the vinyl one in particular is pretty expensive so I don't know if I ever will buy them. I'd love to add both box sets to my collection though.


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Book Review: The Angel's Game

In an abandoned mansion at the heart of Barcelona, a young man - David Martin - makes his living by writing sensationalist novels under a pseudonym. The survivor of a troubled childhood, he has taken refuge in the world of books, and spends his nights spinning baroque tales about the city's underworld. But perhaps his dark imaginings are not as strange as they seem, for in a locked room deep within the house letters hinting at the mysterious death of the previous owner. Like a slow poison, the history of the place seeps into his bones as he struggles with an impossible love. 

Then David receives the offer of a lifetime: he is to write a book with the power to change hearts and minds. In return, he will receive a fortune, perhaps more. But as David begins the work, he realises that there is a connection between this haunting book and the shadows that surround his home...

Oh Carlos Ruiz Zafon you can do no wrong in my eyes I just love your books!
The Angel's Game is the prequel to The Shadow of the Wind and is just as beautifully written. It's a completely different story to Shadow of the Wind, a few characters and familiar places pop up but I don't think you need to have read one book to enjoy the other. 

There's a definite supernatural element to this book and in my experience that sort of thing has to be superbly written to work and it definitely works in this novel. The descriptions are so vivid and amazingly written that your transported right to the heart of Barcelona with the characters.

I don't want to say too much about the story itself as the blurb above tells you all you need to know without spoiling it but I really recommend giving any Zafon book a try. So far I've read this one, The Shadow of the Wind and The Prince of Mist and all of them have been very enjoyable books.

 Rating: ★★★★

Monday, 20 July 2015

On turning 24 and reflecting

 [Source]
OK so July isn't the traditional time of the year to reflect on things however as my birthday approaches I like to gather my thoughts and take a look back at the last year.
 
Last year I wrote this post on turning 23, I said I wasn't too bothered about seeing the back of 22 as it hadn't been a great year and that I hoped 23 would be much better. I spent a large amount of 22 jobless, then worked in a job I thought I enjoyed which was only for a 6 month contract then became jobless again on the cusp of turning 23. I'll be honest and say I expected 23 to be just as bad as 22.
But guess what? It wasn't. 23 has been amazing. Not too long after my birthday I started supply work which opened up a whole new opportunity to me and eventually landed me the job I have now, a job I enjoy and have learnt a lot in since starting in November. Josh and I also booked our dream holiday to Florida, we'd talked about Florida for years but never dreamed we'd be in a position where booking it would be an option and now we're just over 2 weeks away from flying out there! We've also done a ton of stuff in this past year from visiting the Harry Potter Studio Tour to seeing Paul McCartney live twice and getting backstage.

The truth is 23 brought me the happiness, stability and security I've craved since leaving university and I'm really sad to leave such a great year behind however rather than fearing the next year and the unknown it will bring I'm feeling excited at everything that 24 has in store for me.


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Our Weekend #4
































The farm / My Dad's super car driving experience / Yorkshire Air Musuem

One farm visited
Several animals fed
Two rabbits stroked
One very friendly goat
Four laps in a Lotus Elise
One afternoon spent at an air museum

So that was our weekend! Normally we stay in at weekends (and very often don't get out of our pj's) but the weekend just gone was a lot different. On Saturday we went to a farm that's not too far from me, Josh refused to feed the animals but I loved it! We had lunch at the farm then decided because it was a nice day, it was only right to stop off at the pub. Passionfruit cider is my new favourite drink!

On Sunday we headed out with my Dad and Stepmum. For my Dad's 50th Josh and I bought him a super car driving experience so we all went to watch him zipping around the track in a Lotus Elise, he really enjoyed it. In the afternoon we went to the Yorkshire Air Museum as it's right next door to the race track.

I love my weekends in but it was so nice to do something. We had a great weekend.


Saturday, 11 July 2015

Happy List #114 The June 2015 Edition

 I didn't mean to leave it so long until the next Happy List but I've somehow missed out the April and May editions, oopps. This is the longest running feature on my blog though it's changed shape a lot over the years going from a weekly feature to an as and when feature and then to a monthly feature, but they've always been my favourites to write. It's like sitting down and having a good catch up with you all and these posts tend to be the ones I look back on the most as well. 

June was a funny old month, I always say that time is going to fast but then I look back to the 1st June and it seems like ages away. Anyway my month kicked off with a planned hospital visit on the 1st of the month for a day surgery operation and I have to say after nearly a year of pain I'm feeling pretty great right now, like I've actually got my life back. Aside from that I can't think that anything else too interesting happened in June, this is probably why I should plan my Happy List posts out much better. I promise July's one will be so much better!

Things that made me happy in June...
  1. The gorgeous weather - towards the end of the month the weather was amazing. It feels like so long ago since we had really nice, hot weather.
  2. Finally feeling better - as I mentioned above this is the first time in about a year that I've actually felt 100% OK and it's such an amazing feeling.
  3. Spending time with Josh - any extra time with Josh is always a bonus as we don't usually get to see each other too much apart from at weekends.
Things to look forwards to in July - my birthday / finishing work for 6 weeks / more nice weather (fingers crossed)

June's blog post[s] of the month: Birmingham, Liverpool and 2 Paul McCartney Concerts // Having Your Sh*t Together // Florida Holiday Haul

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

FILMS: What We Watched #12

Jurassic Park
1993 | 127 min | Adventure / Science Fiction
J: I've always loved dinosaurs and with Jurassic World being released I thought it was only right to revisit the original. Released in 1993, the CGI is well ahead of it's time, bringing photo-realistic dinosaurs to the big screen. It has a great cast (with Jeff Goldblum as Dr Ian Malcolm being a comedic highlight) and all in all it really got me hooked on dino's. The Velociraptors are little troublemakers though. You gotta watch em. Though the anti-hero Tyrannosaurus Rex puts a stop to their antics! 

L: I've never been a huge fan of this film but seen as Josh wanted to go and see Jurassic World I had to put up with watching this. I'll be honest I still haven't changed my mind about this film, I just don't think it's that great. I know it's meant to be exciting but it fails to rouse any emotion in me. Sorry for hating on a classic but I'm here to be honest!
Jurassic World
2015 | 124 min | Adventure / Science Fiction
J: The long overdue dinosaur sequel finally got released...only 15 years after the release of Jurassic Park III! Set in the same location as the original film, the park is finally open and welcoming thousands of visitors a day. Unfortunately the owners feel the need to 'invent' a dinosaur hybrid. Inevitably it escapes and aaaall hell breaks loose. Lauren really didn't think she'd like this and I had to really coax her into coming, but guess what...she loved it! Oh, and the Indominus Rex vs Tyranosaurus rex/Velociraptors/Mosasaurus 'tag-team' battle at the end is spectacular!  

L: Now this film for me swung in the complete opposite way to Jurassic Park, I loved this film so much. I definitely had to be persuaded to go and see it but I'm so glad I did because it's bloody brilliant. The lead female character gets a little annoying at times but it's nothing I couldn't cope with. Jurassic World made me genuinely wish such a place existed.
Jurassic Park: The Lost World
1997 | 129 min | Adventure / Science Fiction
J: The (almost ) direct follow-up to the original Jurassic Park sees Dr Ian Malcolm being forced to travel back to the land of dinosaurs. Unfortunately a team of mercenaries looking to capture and exploit the living relics also show up, and they are forced to team up to survive. Long story short, a Tyranosaurus Rex buck ends up running amok in San Diego and it's a race against time to get it back home. While many people thing the original Jurassic Park is far superior, I think this one is just as good. It just has a different, more jungle-y vibe, that's all! 

L: This one is much better than the original film and certainly keeps me interested a lot more. It seems much more lively and entertaining then the original and I like that Jeff Goldblum has more of a lead role as he certainly makes the film. Still not as amazing as Jurassic World though!
Oliver!
1968 | 153 min | Musical
J: Who doesn't love a good musical every now and again?! To be honest we never planned on watching this, it was just there when nothing else was on. I hadn't seen it in yeeeears, and quite frankly I enjoyed it. And what's more I remembered most words to most songs. You know, for when I was singing along in my head. Ron Moody was an excellent Fagin, funny, creepy and lovable all at the same time! A side note, but I never remember Oliver himself being such a girl though!

L: I loved Oliver! when I was younger and regularly used to stick on the tape of it and sing along. It turns out after years of not watching it I love it just as much and I can still remember the words to all the songs as unlike Josh I was singing out loud. I just love the story of Oliver but then that's no surprise as I love anything to do with the Victorian era but when you through some catchy little numbers into the mix too then you've got a real winner. Oh and Ron Moody was just born to play Fagin, he's brilliant.
Captain Phillips
2013 | 134 min | Biographical / Thriller
J: I'd heard about this film and I'd heard good things about it, but I'd never got around to actually watching it. It showed up on NowTV so we thought we'd give it a whirl, and it's actually a really good, gripping film. Plus the fact that it really happened makes it even more exciting. Hats off to the fantastic cast AND hats off to the real Captain Phillips! 

L: We'd seen this on Now TV before and I'd brushed it off, in all honesty it didn't sound like my kind of film and the trailer didn't do it justice either. However when Josh mentioned it again I gave in. Captain Phillips is a true story about the hijacking of the cargo ship Maersk Alabama and the eventual kidnapping of its captain, Richard Phillips. It creates suspense very well but it is a talky film, not lacking in action by any means but just a lot of dialogue but this doesn't bother me. I actually really enjoyed this film and I have to say hats off to the real Captain Phillips for what he went through.

If you only watch one of these films it should be...
J: Jurassic World
L: I love Oliver! but I think Jurassic World is going to have to be my one pick!

 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Florida Holiday Haul

This is going to sort of a two in one post, a haul of all the clothes I've bought for my holiday and a sort of what I'm packing for Florida post. Some of the items I bought a while ago so may not be available anymore but some of the things are definitely still in stores. 

I thought it would be quite handy to show you what I plan on taking to Florida clothing and shoe wise. So here's a little bit of background to our holiday, we're going in August where temperatures average around high 20's to low 30's. Everyday we're going to be visiting a theme park which means we'll be doing a lot of walking and a lot of standing about in queues. At night we'll either be going for a bite to eat on International Drive (where we're staying) then just chilling out in our hotel room or going somewhere like Hard Rock Cafe or Downtown Disney so we're not actually properly going out. Even though I've never been to Florida I decided quite early on after booking our holiday that I wouldn't be taking anything really fancy, for us there is just no point. During the day I'm going to need cool, loose fitting and comfortable clothes and and night if we go back to our hotel to get changed I want something relaxed, comfortable but a little prettier than my day time clothes so I've decided on taking playsuits.

I bought the majority of my stuff from Primark as with the sun cream, water from the water rides and lets face it, sweat there's no point paying out loads for clothes. I also bought a lot of themed tops to wear to the various parks, I'm full on getting into the Florida spirit so I'll include which park I plan on wearing themed tops to as well.

So here's what I'm taking:

Tops
From top clockwise: Aztec print vest - Primark £6 / Hakuna Matata vest Primark around £5 (to wear at Animal Kingdom) / Sunflower vest Primark around £4 / Avengers vest Primark £5 (to wear at Universal Islands of Adventure)
From top clockwise: Mickey tshirt Primark around £5 (to wear at Epcot and probably Hollywood Studios) / Minion Captain America vest Ebay £7.19 (to wear at Universal Studios) / Harry Potter vest Ebay £7 (to wear at the Harry Potter world across both Universal parks) / Disney castle vest Ebay £7 (to wear at Magic Kingdom)

Shorts
All shorts from Primark £4 apart from the black and coral trim pair which were £5

Playsuits
White lace-up playsuit Miss Pap £19.99 / Blue wrap playsuit New Look (I paid £17.99 but it's now down to £13) 

Bikini's






















Both bikini's from Primark - £6 for the tops and £4 for the bottoms. Both tops zip up at the front and have halter neck detachable straps. The pink and blue one is my favourite as it has a super pretty cross over detail on the back rather than a clasp or tie fastening, it's also a thick, structured scuba type material. The white one has a lime green zip but just fastens with a clasp at the back, it's made of a soft textured material.

Shoes























Tan sandals Primark (I actually bought these last year and put them away but you can still buy similar ones) / Daisy plimsolls Primark £4 / The Little Mermaid flip flops £2.50 (I think)

So that's everything, I'd like to get another playsuit before we go and I need some pretty bandeau's for under my vests as nearly all of them have really low arm holes but apart from that I have all my holiday clothes!


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

I don't quite know how I feel about this book, I've wanted to read it for a long time and some parts I did enjoy, if that's is the right word for such a story, but for the most part it annoyed me.

Hazel attends a support group for young cancer patients where she meets Augustus and falls in love with him. As Hazel and Augustus battle their illnesses, their love story unfolds. Running along side the narrative of Hazel and Augustus, is that of their friend, Isaac, who is also a member of the cancer support group who eventually losses his sight and the story of the author, Peter Van Houten, who Hazel is desperate to meet and get answers from about her favourite novel.

Lets start with what I probably found the most annoying, the character of Hazel. She is hands down on of the most pretentious characters I've ever come across and I found it very hard to find her believable, surely no 16 year old talks like she does? I got so annoyed by the way she talked that at one point that I handed the book to Josh to see what he made of it, his response was far less elegant than mine and definitely contained the phrase 'wtf'. To be honest I struggled with most of the characters, Peter Van Houten was another one I found to be pretty unrealistic.

Next up I didn't think the writing was all that great, it just wasn't a well written book in my opinion and although the ending did make me cry, on the whole I wasn't that moved by the rest of the book. That isn't me being cold hearted because the slightest thing makes me cry but the lack of likeable, believable characters and strong writing just made it a struggle.

On the whole this wasn't the worst book I've ever read but it certainly wasn't great. I'd say if you really want to give this book a try go for it, you might like it but I personally think there are much better books out there to spend your time reading.

Rating: ★★