Star Trek-ing & shoe shopping

Friday, July 29, 2016

Hey, it's been... uh, a week. Already can't wait for kids to go back to school because yesterday was a nightmare at work and today I went to Meadowhall and got swamped by a sea of children and pushchairs. I may just hibernate in my room throughout August.

Anyway, I have been up to a couple of fun things since my last blog post. I went to see Star Trek Beyond on Sunday which was awesome. Beats Into Darkness for me personally. Into Darkness was fun when I first saw at the cinema then I couldn't stop thinking about why they thought it was a good idea to cast Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan and I eventually made myself so mad I couldn't bear to watch it again. Such bad casting... anyway... Beyond is brilliant, it feels like the first one again in terms of tone. It's fun and light and action-y and they bring Sabotage by the Beastie Boys back in the best way possible and it's just... yeah, very good.

My work week was OK, it's picked up a lot because of the summer holidays and it's occasionally been a bit overwhelming but I always manage to get through it (somehow). I was grateful for the day off today to ~recuperate, but then I decided to go shopping... and that was equally as chaotic... but a good kind of chaotic since, y'know, I'm shopping and not working. 🛍

I picked up some new work shoes (Sketchers, 10% student discount in Schuh, thanks NUS card even though I'm not actually a student anymore, shh) because my old Sketchers had died a death (there were holes where my big toes sit, MY TOES HAD WORN HOLES IN MY SHOES?) so new shoes were number 1 on the list. I then picked up some NYX Lip Lingerie lipstick in Exotic, a tube of Lee Stafford Coco Loco Blow and Go lotion, a Makeup Revolution Ultra Sculpt makeup brush, some new tweezers (boring but necessary), and more of my favourite bras ever. They're a sensible bra and don't come in the most adventurous of colours, but in terms of fit, comfort and practicality, they're pretty boss.

P.S. The picture in this post was taken yesterday as the sun was setting - all I've done is lift the saturation a teeny notch. It was legit golden in my room for about 30 seconds. I'm so glad I captured it.

Hope you've all had a fun week. The weather's gone back to Typical English Summer now - miserable rain and unbearable humidity - but I hope you've had a good 'un nonetheless.

5 tips on getting your writing mojo back

Monday, July 25, 2016

When I'm in a writing slump I spend a lot of time on the internet fuelling my brain with creative things just to try and jumpstart it into action. Here's a list of my favourite things to do when I've lost my mojo and I'm feeling generally uncreative and unmotivated.

Note: these tips are generally aimed at those who write fiction.

Throes of Creation by Leonid Pasternak via Wikimedia Commons

1. Play around with some name generators. 🤓
What would I do without online name generators? I use them for naming everything, from people to pubs to mountains and rivers. Sometimes, even if I'm not planning on writing, I'll check out a couple of name generators and just note down some interesting results for future reference. Sometimes randomly generating character names can give you all sorts of ideas. Here are a few of my personal favourites (which many writers may already be familiar with): Seventh Sanctum (pretty much everything), Mithril & Mages (places, people, cities, businesses, streets and roads), Town Name Generator, Fantasy Name Generator, Street Name Generator (absolutely fantastic), Serendipity (places and people), and Random Plot Points.

2. Try creating a fictional (or real) family tree. 🌳
Honestly nothing beats this. Family Echo is a wonderful site and is incredibly useful for writers, especially those with a lot characters that interlink (think A Song of Ice and Fire). It might also be useful to put together your own family tree; you might find something interesting about an ancestor that might give you some inspiration. If you have a story idea already, try planning the protagonist's or antagonist's family tree. There are no rules to this, so go nuts.

3. Click random Wikipedia articles. 🌐
Click the 'Random article' button on the Wikipedia home page (in the side bar) and see where it takes you. Might take you a while to find something interesting and worth reading, but you never know what you might stumble upon.

4. Browse Pinterest. 📌
Pinterest is a haven for creativity. You can browse or create your own boards dedicated to character/world building, writing tips, and inspiration. I have a private board on my Pinterest page where I Pin costume ideas, face references, interesting settings, and moody photography that suits my story. If you're not in the mindset to write, putting together a visual mood board can help and be a lot of fun.

5. Have a go at some writing prompts. ✏️
I have noticed a lot of my tips don't involve much actual writing (lol oops), but when I'm feeling bleugh about writing I tend to stay away from it because when I write through a block it makes me irritable and I get really frustrated with myself, and neither of those are good feelings so I just stick to good ol' Pinterest - BUT - Reddit has a brilliant writing prompts subreddit that I enjoy browsing when I'm in a writing rut. The prompts on there are funny, clever, and thought-provoking. It's my favourite prompt site. The good thing about a writing prompt is that there aren't any rules: you can make it long, short, dramatic, funny, sad, or even x-rated(!). It's all up to you.

Hope some of you find my writing tips helpful.

How to cope in a heatwave according to my cat

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

My cat was thoroughly enjoying the heatwave until it got to about 1pm this afternoon and she 100% gave up on life (as had I). From what I've noticed, she likes to keep cool by laying on plastic things (a Sainsbury's carrier bag and a damp shower curtain as pictured above) and by sleeping a lot, which is what I wish I could do all day long if I didn't have adult responsibilities. She has also spent a lot of time sitting on the concrete patio outside which seems to stay cool even when the sun is on it. She's a clever one. It must be tough being covered in fur when it's hot, I can hardly cope now and I've got a teeny pair of shorts and a vest on.

So yeah, the heatwave. I've been dying for a proper summer all year but this isn't exactly what I had in mind. I wanted less humidity and more sunshine, but being a typical Brit and all - I'm simply never ever happy with the weather.

I must confess... I've been thinking a lot about Christmas since it's turned warm. While I'm sitting here sweating cobs in my bedroom with the fan providing me with nothing but lukewarm puffs of air, I can't help but dream of cold weather and boots and scarves and Christmas songs and tinsel and woolly jumpers... although the thought of woolly jumpers right now is making me feel hotter. Eugh. 🌞🔥🌞🔥

Hope you're having a lovely week, I've got three days off work so I'm feeling pretty chill. I've been spending most of my time lately sitting outside staring into the abyss because it's honestly too hot to do anything else. It's funny, a lot of people outside the UK laugh at us and our "heatwaves", but you have to remember - Britain is so wonderfully, incredibly, fantastically underprepared for heat. Most buildings don't have AC so it's basically just close your curtains, lay in bed in your pants, and frown until it cools down. Plus, Brits aren't used to the heat so I think our bodies just go into panic mode when it goes anywhere above 17°C. It's not a fun time. I feel for those who have to take the Tube in London when it's this hot *shudders*. You guys have my deepest sympathies.

Showcase: stylish armchairs

Monday, July 18, 2016

I really love modern armchairs with soft lines and muted colours - the 1st, 3rd and 9th on this list are my favourites. So gorgeous. I especially like the buttons on the first chair, it adds a bit of character to it. In fact, it'd make for an interesting DIY if you have a button-back chair you want to zhuzh up. Is that how you spell that? Who knows. I've included a few different styles here too since modern designs aren't everyone's cup of tea. So anyway, hope you guys enjoy this showcase...

Shopping for flowers in the sunshine at Welbeck

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Hi! Today has been a gorgeous day. Finally we got some proper summer weather and I've spent most of it sitting outside lapping it up.

We headed to Welbeck this morning to the garden centre. My mum needed some more plants since the snails have munched through most of the others. Snails really loved our red salvias, much to my mum's disdain.

We got a colourful new selection of flowers (distancing ourselves from those red salvias) as well as some non-garden related things like food (chocolate dipped shortbread and strawberry milkshake flavoured sweets 🤗) and clothes (a Regatta t-shirt and a striped dress by Country Rose). Like you do.

After we'd done in the garden centre, we moved on to the farm shop and bought lots of lovely fresh organic food (dirty carrots with the tops still on!!!!) and had the richest, creamiest, most beautiful chocolate ice cream in the universe. It was like eating velvet, or... what I imagine it's like to eat velvet. You get what I mean.

It was a fun few hours out of the house - I've been at work most of the week so it was nice to wear something other than my uniform or my pyjamas and get to chill out in the sun.

Hope you guys all had a good weekend, I've just finished watching Deadpool and I'm a bit in love with it. ❤️⚔💉☠️

Birthday embroidery

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Hi - I said I'd make this post a while back showing you what I made my mum for her birthday, and this is it! I had a lot of fun doing this, it's not perfect but it was my first attempt at embroidery and I loved doing the little doodles. 

I've been taking a short break from cross-stitch and embroidery recently but I have been thinking about picking it up again soon, I'd just really like to finish my current cross-stitch pattern and get it framed then move on to using more embroidery hoops. I have a couple of varying sizes that I want to put to the test but I need to pick up some more material, I'm thinking about raiding a charity shop for old pillowcases, perhaps something with a bit of colour and pizazz.

My mum really loves her little design and it will eventually be framed. Really pleased with it!

Here, have a weekly update

Saturday, July 09, 2016

It's been a weird old week but I don't know why, it just feels like it's been weird. Yes, good start to the post, Kate.

On Thursday we had our kitchen floor levelled out in preparation for new cushion flooring. Not interesting in the slightest, but the floor does look rather snazzy now. It's a lighter colour and makes the kitchen look massive. That was about the most interesting thing that's happened this week.

I finally got all my IKEA furniture set up - my new bookcase looks awesome, I'm so pleased with it. It looks so sparse compared to what I had before, but that's good because it means I can buy more stuff to fill it and not feel bad. 😋

I've had a decent work week, nothing too spectacular. I have one more shift today then I have three lovely days off. I don't have any plans but I really want to make the most of my time off somehow, so I'm hoping the weather's nice and that I'm not too skint (I haven't checked my bank balance in over a week so who knows really). If it turns out I am skint, my long weekend will involve me doing a lot of cross stitching in bed and probably watching The Martian a million more times (kind of obsessed).

Oh, my cat had a slight mishap outside this week. I was chasing her around the garden which always gets her overly hyper and giddy and she goes running at 500mph into a stone step and scuffs her nose quite badly. She did a bit of a roly-poly and at first we thought she'd hit her head, but thankfully she didn't. She's been to the vets and is doing fine, but is having antibiotics injected into her food to ease the pain. Her nose has swelled up and turned a dazzling shade of purple. 💜

That's about it for my week so far, hope you've had a good one.

5am sunshine & IKEA trips

Monday, July 04, 2016

Hey! I was up at the crack of dawn yesterday. Well, not quite, but almost. I fell asleep at around 8pm, waking up here and there all through the night, then woke up ridiculously bright-eyed at 5:30am. An ungodly hour indeed, but I thought I'd make the most of it by taking pictures of the sunlight coming through into my bedroom. My room is north-facing and the only time I get even a glimmer of sunlight is specifically in the summer at sunrise. I don't have black-out curtains or blinds either, so the sun just shines straight into my eyeballs the minute I wake up, which is both a blessing and a curse.

I took a long awaited trip to IKEA yesterday too, which resulted in me spending an absurd amount of money but I did get some gorgeous new things. I picked up a bedside table, rug, lamp, mirror, bookcase, desk chair, laundry basket, and pillow. Phew.

After roaming IKEA for about 2 hours, we had lunch at Pizza Express (the classic American is my favourite pizza of ALL TIME) and then had a quick wander around TK Maxx, where I picked up a bunch of Sukin skincare products to try. It was a long and beautifully sunny day, I spent lots of money, visited my brother (but really I just go round to see his dog 😋), then came home and helped my step-dad put some of my new furniture together. I conked out at around 7pm and decided to lay in bed for the remainder of the evening watching YouTube videos until I drifted off.

So yeah, my Sunday was kinda exciting! Hope you guys had a good weekend.
marchninetyfour | A UK lifestyle blog