My life

Gaping Gaps in Knowledge

You know how a lot of people have these massive gaps where some common knowledge or skills should be? Well, I’m one of those people. Over the years I’ve discovered I’m lacking some essential information from time to time. And that’s what I want to talk about today. Because it’s perfectly alright not to know everything. I’m happy to learn something every day, whether it’s a well-known piece of information or a rare skill. Just bring it on!

1. Until I was way older than I’m going to admit here, I thought (white-tailed) deer were female and moose male. Somehow I’d gotten that idea from Bambi and I thought well that’s got to be true as I read it in a book. Soooooo yeah, that was kind of embarrassing. I think it was my mum who realised that I didn’t know that they’re kind of not the same thing at all.

2. I don’t know how to boil an egg. I mean, I know that there’s a saucepan of boiling water and you put the egg in with a slotted spoon. And I have boiled eggs before, but I need to look it up every time I do it. Or ask my mum. I don’t know whether you’re supposed to put the egg in when the water is already boiling or when it’s still cold. I also have no idea how long you’re supposed to boil it for. I have no idea why it’s so hard for me to grasp or remember or I don’t even know what my problem is with this one. But I just can’t boil an egg without Googling it first.

3. I absolutely can NOT estimate measurements. Distances are a complete mystery to me. If I really have to know/guess the measurements of something then I usually estimate stuff in ‘me’. As in, how many of me would it take from the bottom of the building to the top for example. The taller/longer the object the harder it is to guess though, so it works best for smaller things like bookcases or tables. I wouldn’t be able to tell whether a tree is 3 or 20 meters tall. Just can’t do it.

4. This one isn’t really something essential, but I don’t know how to play any instrument. I went to art school not music school and it’s just something I’ve never gotten round to learning. I tried to learn how to play guitar, but I got bored of it pretty quickly and I haven’t given it a go since. Maybe I should learn something now? It’s never too late, is it? Hmmm, violin? I’ll keep you posted…

5. That’s actually related to my last point. I don’t know how to draw humans. I mentioned I went to art school and yes they did teach how to draw humans there, however, when me and my friend joined, they didn’t have any available places in the first year classes so we were put straight to second year and you can guess what they taught in first year…. Yes, humans. So I can paint you a bowl of fruit and a bottle of wine but anything resembling a human? Noooooope.

6. Eyeliner. Can I just leave it here? It’s really frustrating and I have been practising but I just can’t do eyeliner still. I look ridiculous when I try. My attempts also make me look a few decades older than I am. Not good. Not good at all. I’ll keep practising. Or maybe I’ll just give up and never do it again. Hmpfh. Yes, I’m in a grumpy mood now. Stupid eyeliners.

I think I should probably leave it here. As much as I tried to tell myself that it’s alright to not be perfect at everything, the eyeliner thing still makes me mad. I look at these people (on youtube) just getting it right with one stroke and it makes me despair. Oh well. I shall rise above it and just nod approvingly when I see someone with beautiful eyeliner work. Well done, person, well done. I now picture myself also wearing a monocle whilst I do this. And a top hat. Definitely a top hat.

G.

Books, Challenges, My life, Reviews

My March Books

I read 3 books in March which took me to 10/30. I’m 1/3 of the way there guys! Whoop! Anyway, I know there’s only 2 books on the picture and that’s because the third one has been travelling from person to person since I finished it. Having found it quite enlightening and useful, I’ve passed it on to two of my friends since and one of them currently still has it.

In fact, that’s the book I shall begin with. I’m a bit late to the bandwagon with this, but the first book I read in March was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondō. I’m not claiming it was fully as miraculous as it claims, but I got quite a bit out of it. Overall this books is quite nutty in my opinion, you have to pick and choose what to take from it and it’s definitely not going to suit everyone’s taste. However I learned a few neat tricks to decluttering and better organisation. My wardrobe shrank considerably after I put some of those tips into use (like only keeping the stuff that makes me happy) and now I can wear anything from it, knowing that no matter what I pick, I’ll be happy wearing it. Such a simple concept but one that I never thought of myself. So I had piles of clothes that I hadn’t worn in years and a few items I’d never even put on. Well, not anymore! I also learned a few good ways to organise my clothes which I’ve actually stuck to as it just makes a lot of sense (like storing clothes side by side not in a pile). Anyway, long story short, I liked it.

The second book I read was Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman. Right, I’ve tried to start my review about this one three times now and nothing just seems to fit. I thought it was an OK book. It wasn’t amazing, but it was a nice read. It had its interesting bits and some crazy twists which were well done. Overall I’d say I enjoyed it and if you’re after a quick and easy read with some mystery then by all means go for it. Hmm… That doesn’t sound like a very good review. It’s just… You know how some books influence you more and some to a lesser degree or not much at all? Well, I don’t think all books can nor should be life-changing, some should just be simple entertainment. Which is what this books was.

Now then. I saved my favourite for last this time. The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson. I’m sure you’re all getting a bit tired about me going oooon and oooooon about the Mistborn series but it’s just that good. If you like fantasy books with magic but are tired of the same old wands and mages then pick this up. I’ve never known magic like this before and it’s just… And the characters and the story and it’s all just. Amazing. Absolutely amazing. I love it. Love it, love it, love it. That’s one of the life-changing books for me.

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That’s it for now. If you have any recommendations for what I could read next, let me know! 🙂

G.

My life, Stories

Lily, hold on!

‘Lily, hold on!’

‘What a brilliant piece of advice,’ Lily grunted, more to herself than to Poppy who’d called out to her, as it was almost impossible to hear anything over the wind whistling in her ears, not to mention the deafening noise the dragons made. She was currently hanging from a gigantic red one’s wing bone. She was holding on to dear life after their dragon had been attacked by another one of the creatures whose tail knocked her out of her position and almost off into the sky. At the last moment she’d been able to grab on to her dragon’s leathery wing and pulled her way back towards the dragon’s massive body in an attempt to get back on it. That plan had failed and she was all too aware that she wouldn’t be able to hold on for much longer, as her hands were getting sweatier and growing more tired by the second.

‘We need to go back or at least land somewhere!’ she shouted, trying to make herself heard over the continuous dragon roars and wind.

Poppy, who had managed to stay on the back of the beast when Lily slipped, nodded briefly to let Lily know she’d heard. Lily could see the panic in Poppy’s eyes. It wasn’t easy to fly a dragon on the best of days and today was pretty much as bad as it gets. The battle around them was raging on, drawing the dragon’s attention and the wind was picking up as well, making it even more difficult for the dragon to hear Poppy’s instructions. It took great skill and a powerful mind on top of years of training and bonding with a dragon to be able to control it enough to ride it. Poppy was young and inexperienced, but had been forced to take the reins anyway as they were losing dragon riders every day and needed to replace them or admit defeat. Without dragons they didn’t stand a chance. And they couldn’t afford to lose. Giving up now would mean that everything they know would be destroyed and millions would die. And the deaths wouldn’t be quick. The destruction wouldn’t be swift. It would be drawn out to ensure maximum amount of torture. They knew this as it had already begun to happen before they gathered the resistance and halted the doom’s progress.

Slowly starting to lose her nerve, Lily tried to swing her leg up again, as the dragon’s leathery wing beat down, but failed and nearly lost her grip completely. She closed her eyes, feeling tears and terror starting to overwhelm her. ‘I must hold on. I can’t let go. It’s not an option to give up,’ she whispered, to no-one in particular. She was out of ideas and about to lose hope. How could she not? They’d been in open battle for days and even before this she’d been in raid parties sent out to conduct surprise attacks on the enemy or scouting or bringing in more supplies. She was always busy, always in the thick of things. She was tired. It would be so simple to just let go and not have to worry about anything anymore. She was exhausted of trying to be what everyone expected of her.

Looking down, Poppy saw that Lily was really struggling so she focused all of her efforts once more on the dragon. She closed her eyes in concentration and thought: ‘It’s going to work. You’re going to hear me. We need to get somewhere safe. We need to land. I command you to fly away from the battle. Anywhere safe.’ She put as much conviction in it as she could muster, wishing that this time the dragon would pick up the command and do what she wanted. It was their only chance. Her magic was slowly waning and to be honest she was surprised it had lasted her that long. She had last refilled her reserves hours ago, before they set off towards the battle with the other troops who had been resting, if you could call it that. A couple of hours of fitful naps, more like dosing off from exhaustion than knowingly going to sleep. It was hard to get any rest so close to the war front. If you couldn’t get it out of your mind, it’d haunt you in your dreams. So it made little difference, but they were still grateful to know that at least for those few hours they weren’t in imminent danger from being burnt to death, thrown off a dragon, blown apart or any other common occurrences that came along with being in open war.

To Poppy’s immense surprise and relief, the dragon seemed to have heard and was now banking left, turning its back on the battle and making its way back. It didn’t take long for the dragon to get low enough so Lily wouldn’t be in mortal danger anymore. This seemed to encourage Poppy so she felt more confident when closing her eyes again and thinking: ‘Hurry.’ She felt the dragon speed up and looking down she saw the scorched ground fly by so fast it became a blur of fully burnt black and wilted yellow. Occasionally a grey rocky patch would break the monotony, but overall it was a bleak sight. Soon they were far enough so they were able to land.

Instantly Lily let go of the dragon, feeling drained. She tumbled and fell clumsily to her knees before collapsing completely. She was still alive. She could hardly believe it. She’d used the last of her magic to bind herself to the dragon as they’d been speeding off to safety. A few more minutes and her last drops of magic would’ve been gone and even though they weren’t flying that high, falling when flying at that speed would’ve been dangerous. So for now she was content just breathing in the smell of burnt ground and knowing that even though she’s not the hero everyone’s expecting her to be, she’s surprisingly lucky. And still alive.

As soon as the dragon’s claws reached the ground, Poppy slid off it. It wasn’t the most graceful disembarking, but little to do with dragons was graceful these days. Everything was rushed and technical, it was about practicality, not about what was right. That’s not something she wanted to think about now, however. She’d been lamenting over the poor treatment of dragons and her part in it ever since she was recruited to the army. She didn’t want to think about that either. She didn’t want to give in to her thoughts at all recently as a lot of them span around the horrors she’d seen, been through and inflicted. Attacking the enemy still meant killing and not all of the enemy soldiers were evil. Some of them were recruits like herself. The other side had just reached them before. She pushed all of that to the back of her mind and crouched down next to Lily. Her sister needed her and that’s all that mattered for now.

To be continued…

——————-

The featured picture was drawn by my sister.

 

Food, My life

Some (weird) things I don’t like.

I thought I’ll keep the title to the point. Over the years I’ve realised that there are some things that I don’t particularly like and today I thought it’d be great to share these things with you. I’m not sure why I thought it’s a great idea, but just hear me out. Some of the things are a little out there and some of them you can probably relate to. We’ll see where this goes.

I shall start with the worst one. I don’t even want to write it down as I don’t want to know that they’re on my blog. But I shall be strong and overcome my fear/deeeeeeeep dislike for a few minutes. Earwigs. That should say it all. They’re nasty creepy crawlies who seem to be everywhere towards the end of summer and it’s just… *shudders*. If that wasn’t bad enough, I do actually have a horrendous childhood memory that includes these … things. For some reason there always seems to be bazillions of them around in August on the island where my Nan lives. I’d never been keen on them. One summer however, (I was probably around 10 years old, give or take a couple of years) we decided to put a tent up in the garden and camp out. It was all nice and fun until the next morning the tent was absolutely crawling with these things. Dozens of them. Oh. My. Shudders. Trust me, that’d be enough to make anyone scream on top of their lungs and run in the opposite direction.

I also don’t like balloons. That’s a bit more manageable – I don’t scream like a fog horn when I see one – but I still don’t like them. I’m absolutely fine with them as long as they’re not inflated. Inflating them is what gets me the worst. I’m just terrified that they get filled to the breaking point and that they then pop unexpectedly. I’m kiiiiind of OK with them when they’ve already been safely inflated and if it doesn’t look like they’re too full. I still don’t enjoy them, but I can be around them. Maybe that’s something I can work on. Oh, I also don’t like it when they pop up unexpectedly. That can make me cry. It’s so weird. But like, if I was walking around the corner and a kid with a balloon bumped into me, I’d probably actually cry and possibly run away. Yeah, definitely something to work on.

Allergies. Obvious reasons. I don’t think I need to go into any more detail. I should probably go through one of those allergy tests to see what actually gets me though. I seem to have permanently runny nose.

This one is again a bit of an odd one (or so I’ve been told). I don’t like vacuum cleaners. When I was little we had the LOUDEST vacuum cleaner ever, and I remember it being terrifying. Since then I haven’t been the biggest fan of them and until I was way older than I’m going to admit, I’d hide in another room if someone brought the vacuum cleaner out. I’m quite alright with them now, but I still don’t enjoy them much.

Chocolate. I know, I know. You could probably understand balloons and vacuum cleaners but that’s where you draw the line, am I right? Well, it’s actually not by choice that I don’t like chocolate. It just makes me feel really sick. It’s very weird as I can have all other sweets with no problems (except the weight gain… that darned weight.. in fact, it’s probably for the best that I can’t have chocolate!). It’s something that I’m working on. I’m now in a place where I can have a piece of chocolate if I wash it down with a glass of water straight away. I can also have some chocolates that have a lot of filling. I’ll still need that water though. Also, sometimes it’s still enough if I smell chocolate somewhere and I’ll already feel nauseous.

I think that’s enough for now. Of course there’s more that I don’t like, but I think getting even these few things off my chest will do for now. Phew. What a burden it was! Thanks for listening. I really appreciate it.

I’ll go and try not to think of ᵉᵃʳʷᶦᵍˢ now. Not thinking of them. Nope. Nopenopenope. I’m OK. Not thinking about it. I’ll think of marshmallows instead. Nice and fluffy marshmallows.

Also, it was really hard to choose a picture for this post. I guess I could’ve just taken one of our vacuum cleaner or something… But I’m soooo tired after the super mega busy day I had and don’t really want to interact with it at the moment. Plus, how random would it be to have a vacuum cleaner as a featured image? Hmm, that’s actually kind of brilliant. I might change it tomorrow.

G.

 

Beauty, Reviews, Unboxing

You Beautiful Thing

This month I thought I’ll try out You Beauty Box. It is another monthly subscription box, HOWEVER, there’s quite a big difference between this and other boxes that I’ve tried so far. You see, usually it’s a surprise what I get in a box. With this one though, you get to choose what you want from a pre-selected list of options. It depends on your subscription type how many products you get to choose and there are some other little bits to it as well. You can get more info about the different subscription options on their website.

I decided to go all out and go for their Gold membership, which means I got to choose 4 items and got 2 extras on top of my chosen ones.

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Jurlique, Rosewater Balancing Mist. That’s the first thing I went for as I love face mists and body mists and anything misty, really. Plus I’m really liking the rose theme this spring as well. It’s a ‘light and hydrating mist rich in Rose Essential Oil and powerful botanicals to refreshen and enliven skin and senses’. I’ve used it quite a bit now and I find it lovely. I like the scent of it and how refreshed it leaves me feeling.

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Balm Balm, Tea Tree Lip Balm. Ok, I may have been swayed towards this one by my fiance’s great love for anything tea tree. However I’m very happy with it, it leaves my lips soft and ‘fresh’ feeling. Is that a thing? Anyway I do like it. Plus it’s 100% organic!

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Bee Good, Youth Enhancing, Smooth & Prime Serum. As if I didn’t have enough face stuff, I went for more. I’ve always loved Bee Good products and the little line ‘Made by British Bees’ as that just has me picturing a field of wild flowers with bees hard at work buzzing and bumbling away. It’s suppose to even skin tone and deliver intense hydration to skin. I’ll see if that’s true once I get round to using it, but bees wouldn’t lie, would they?

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SKN-RG England, Organic Cellular Repair Moisturiser (Normal/Combination). At this point I panicked and didn’t know what else to get. Sooooooo I went for yet ANOTHER moisturiser. I don’t know what I was thinking. However, I’ve tried it out and it is great. It’s quite light so it leaves my skin soft and not overly greasy. I quite like it. Plus it’s vegan, so if you’re after skincare that would suit your lifestyle then this could be it.

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The Organic Pharmacy, Marigold & Comfrey Hand Cream. That’s one of the extra items that I got in my box. I love it. It smells great (but not too strong), isn’t too greasy (I have somewhat dry hands though, so if you don’t suffer from that, it could be a bit too much I think) and it’s a nice size, too. Not too small so it’ll last me for a while but not too big so I won’t get bored of it before it runs out. Perfect!

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Pip & Nut, Coconut & Almond Butter Squeeze Pack. To be honest, I don’t know how I’m going to use it yet, so I haven’t opened it. It says you can spread it on a banana, swirl it into porridge or simply squeeze straight from the pouch. I don’t know guys… I guess I’ll have it in my porridge or something. I don’t think I’d want it straight and I usually just have my bananas as they are. Will see. If you have any ideas on the different uses of coconut & almond butter, let me know.

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That’s my box and I’m quite happy with it. I do like choosing my own stuff at times and if you’re after specific type of products to try out, then I think that You Beauty Box would be a great option to go for. 🙂

G.

Books, Challenges, My life

Literally shaking with anticipation and excitement

To be honest I can’t believe I’m even writing this, but I feel like I need to share it with you lot. I’ve just reached the final hundred or so pages of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy and I feel like I REALLY want you to be a part of it.

I can’t remember when I was last sucked into a book like this, but it’s amazing. It’s all coming together in mind-bogglingly brilliant ways that I somewhat foresaw, but not to the extents that the book is revealing. I don’t even know if any of this is making any sense, I’m just SOOOOOOOOOOO excited.

Like the title says – I’m literally shaking. You’ll probably think me crazy, but I don’t care. To read something this great is just … I’m dreading the end because I don’t want to be done with it, but I know that once I’ve finished this post I won’t stop reading until I’ve finished.

Prepare yourselves for a post full of wallowing about how I’ve reached an end of an era, having finished the trilogy.

Ok, I can’t write any more for now. Must. Go. Back. To. Reading. Can’t leave my characters that long.

My goodness, I truly hope and wish that you’ve had a similar reading experience recently. It’s so invigorating.

G.

Books, Challenges, Crafts, Food, My life

Of life in general, briefly. / Ups and downs

Hmm. It’s really weird what I now consider to be my ‘downs’ as they’re actually more of a ‘not that up’. It’s weird to explain, if you haven’t experienced it. But even on my days when I feel like I can’t really be bothered to do anything, which before would’ve found me in a dark hole, I can now just shrug it off. Dealing with things is so different when you’re not well. Also, realising how it’s different is hard when you’re in a place where things aren’t that great.

Now that I’ve noticed the changes I keep finding that I’m more conscious of the slight differences. For example, the other day I was focusing on the feelings in my stomach and the thoughts in my head and realised I last felt like this more than a decade ago. After struggling for so long, it feels amazing to realise that yes, my memories of feeling like this once upon a time weren’t just ‘memory goggles’ that make times gone by feel better, but that I actually did feel different then.

So, back to the topic — oooooh, I just thought that I should’ve told you about my Sunday. I was SO productive and got a buttload of things done. Hmm. Now I’m torn about whether to continue this post or start again. I think I’ll go ahead with my current one at the moment, but expect to see a ‘The Most Productive Sunday Yet’ post soon.

Ok, can I pleaaase get back to my post now? — Today I didn’t go bouncing/trampolining. I should’ve done, but didn’t. Why did I not go? Well, because today is one of the days when I felt like I’d rather eat a reasonably sized portion of lasagna and attempt to make T-shirt yarn. Check and check. The lasagna was a frozen ready meal and actually surprisingly nice. (Today was also one of the days where I couldn’t be bothered to cook from scratch.) T-shirt yarn however… well, I think I’ve got some room for improvement. The first one would be to get proper scissors. The second one would be to learn how to cut even strips… I’m pretty sure some toddlers could surpass me in cutting skills. Once I’ve practised a little bit more I’ll let you know in more detail how it goes and what I’m going to make of the yarn.

Speaking of toddlers (erm… young kids), I watched an episode of Masterchef Junior today. Turns out I’ve got a LOT to learn about cooking and I could learn a lot of it from kids — my fiance just tried to ask me what my post is about and as it’s about everything whilst being about nothing I didn’t want to lose my train of thought so I growled at him. He didn’t appreciate it. — that are half my age and less. My cooking skills were very extremely limited until I was in my early twenties, I think. That’s when I started to explore the world of food a bit more courageously.

Watching a cooking show also reminded me that I haven’t made many soups this year. For those of you who are wondering why I’ve singled out soups – my this year’s challenge is to make 12 different soups. So far I’ve made two. That’s low even for my usual cooking variety, not to mention that I’m supposed to be doing this to complete my challenge. I’m pretty certain I made a lot more soups when it wasn’t a challenge. I’ll need to look into this, I think.

Anyway, it may not have been as brief as the title suggested, but there it is. I got most of the stuff off my mind – a lot of it straight from thoughts to paper without much editing, so I hope you’ll enjoy a glimpse into my brrrrrain. Oh, the image I used is a picture of daffodils that are on my way to/from work. How cool is that. A sea of daffodils that I walk past every day.

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I’ll go try to make amends with my fiance now and then go read my book. I’m getting really close to the end of the last book in the trilogy and such interesting things are happening! I can’t even… Yeah. I’ll see you soon!

G.