Sunday, January 19, 2020

My Top Reading Picks of 2019.

2019 was a whirlwind of a year. It seemed to fly by and now we are already in a new year, and even a new decade. So as we reflect and look back on the previous year I wanted to talk about my favourite books I have read in 2019.

Reading is something relaxes me when I am highly anxious and I love being able to be transported into another world. I mean maybe that is why I am studying an English Degree. Talking about my degree the first book I want to mention is one I actually read because of my degree and writing an essay on it. An essay I am meant to writing right now but instead, I am writing this.

Hotel World by Ali Smith. 
Although I had to read this book for university it still holds a worthy mention in my top reading picks purely for the amazing style any of Ali Smiths books are written like. It throws many literacy features and 'rules' out of the window to accommodate the topics of political capitalism and dealing with grief and the grey area between life and death. For some, its a bit more of a heavy read but Ali Smith tackles these type of topics in a very comical basis that makes you forget how heavy the topic is. Even if you don't need to read this for an academic purpose like myself I think you would still very much enjoy it.

Another on my list that I read as more of a pleasure read that also deals with grief theming but in a more of a girly drama book compared to that of Ali Smiths contemporary novel is,

After You by Jojo Moyes.
The second in the well-known book series of 'Me Before You'. After you focus on the life Lou lives after the ending of the first one. I read this during the Christmas period and managed to finish it just after the new year so technically I wouldn't say I read this in 2019 however I felt it was worth the mention. I'm just going to put this out here and say It wasn't my favourite read out of this list and you may be thinking at this point why I've mentioned it in my best picks. But let me explain. If you are to read this as a stand-alone book, I feel it is not for you. The flow of writing and storytelling wouldn't make much sense, as it follows on from the previous book. On the other hand, if you have actually read 'Me Before You' or watched the movie.

Although this is not really a book I feel these are a worthy mention. I recently started a magazine subscription to Breathe.

Breathe Magazine. 
Breathe magazine is a magazine that is focused around health and well-being and self-care. Something I find incredibly important as these days there isn't enough hours in the day to get everything done so we always focus on the work we need to do and the tasks that need to be completed as opposed to actually taking care of ourselves. Like most things, a lot of things are easier said than done and we find giving advice to others easier than taking the advice ourselves actually.

We all a love good classic novel, or maybe that's just a thing for me as an English Literature student. But I couldn't write a list about my top collectable reads of the year without one. So this leads us to our next one.

Far From The Madding Crowd By Thomas Hardy. 
This one is very different from the others upon our list, so please stick with me as I know classics are not what everyone loves. But because of Far From The Madding Crowd being a realism novel, it has a sense of relative to our everyday life. It's also a rather easy read in regards to the language that is used in the text. Often I find when I have to read a classic book for my degree, a lot of them become a struggle to read as the language choice from the time they were written become almost like a blockage. In all, if an English degree is something you want to pursue or even briefly look into and the type of things you would study, I feel this is a good starting point.

What was your favourite read of 2019?
I hope you enjoyed reading this little blogpost!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A New Year But I'm Still The Same Me // Why You Should Never Change Yourself For anybody.

I'm a little bit late to the party here, seeming I am writing this on the 14th of January but the first two weeks of the new year have been a bit of a whirlwind time, to say the least, and I properly wanted to sit down and think about what I wanted to write about and where I think I am heading with this blog. A trend I have noticed from the likes of social media platforms and talking to people in my everyday life is a focus on goals and resolutions when a new year, (Or even a new decade) Is around the corner. Now don't get me wrong here, I'm not opposed to the aspect of setting ourselves goals and working on ourselves for the better because as humans I feel we are always able to improve ourselves. But my problem when it comes to this type of goals is that they are attached to something of a significance holiday so people are in turn somewhat 'expected' to make goals.

And a lot of the time these type of goals are centred around losing weight and improving fitness levels, a career change or a promotion or even just reading more or buying a car/learning to drive and this is because we pick these goals as we think it's what we have to do to become a better human being. We don't need to change ourselves for anybody. This is one of my main points I have really been focusing on for 2020. During 2019, I became far too consumed with what everybody around me was doing, focusing on how they, in turn, live their lives rather than focusing on my own and what I need to do. So just because people around you in your lives are doing all different types of things to do, there is no need to make it a competitive thing and compare yourself. Every person in life is on a very different track and no two people are the same.

I hope you are having a great start to the new year and the new decade, and I would love to hear your thoughts in regards to goals and the new year. 
Until next time, thank you so much for reading! 
Toodlepip Lovelies 
Lucy xox

Monday, December 23, 2019

Mary Poppins // A Theatre Review.

On a gloomy Saturday evening in the last week of November, my boyfriend and I headed up to London to see the wonderful Charlie Stemp and Zizi Strallen in Mary Poppins. Although you may have never heard of the musical production that is Mary Poppins, I am pretty sure you would know of the Disney movie version.

There isn't much that differs between the two, however, one of the key differences you will notice is the musical soundtracks, and let's be honest the songs make most of the west end performances, par the acting! The West End performance has had a lot more songs added to it, to enhance the story that unfolds on the stage while also creating some alternations and setting changes to the most iconic Mary Poppins songs there is, these being 'A Spoonful of Sugar' and 'Supercalifragilisticexplidocious'. I didn't have much of a problem with these alternations but was a little disappointed that Mary Poppins didn't wear the well know White holiday dress for Jolly Holiday and instead opted for a bright pink one.

But let's have a talk about the new additions that graced the stage. One of my firm favourites was the song 'Being Mr's Banks' and the reprised version also. There is something about listening to this song be performed upon the stage that really moved me. The lyrics and acting were both filled with so much emotion that makes you feel a sense of relation to how the actor is feeling and to everyday life. Something I love is how an actor or a song and plot line can make you feel invested more and more into the musical. 'Being Mrs Banks' makes you feel the emotions she has been torn between the woman she wants to be, and the woman her husband wants her to be.

Although I loved 'Being Mrs Banks' I was not the biggest fan of the 'Playing the Game' song. I felt that the entire scene was very uncomfortable to watch and terrified me slightly when the giant toy came to life. I don't want to spoil the show too much as there is a lot of magic that centres around the production and Mary Poppins itself. For a show like this, what more could you expect? The magic is a key piece to the show and adds an extra level of wonderfulness that any Disney production needs. I loved how magical Mary Poppins bag was without the movie tricks the original pursues. The set of Cherry Tree Lane house was also a firm favourite as I loved the way it unfolded and folded itself up almost like a giant dollhouse. The set being this way added that extra bit of specialness.

Overall, If you love Disney and Mary Poppins is your kind of thing I think you would extremely love this and Charlie Stemp as Burt and Zizi Strallen as Mary Poppins are the real icing on the cake for this version of Mary Poppins. Together they create the best dynamic of the two and mould themselves perfectl]y into the characters while acting. Making it such a pleasure to watch. I really enjoyed my time watching this show and would really recommend you go see it.

I hope you enjoyed reading this little theatre review and have a lovely Christmas!
Toodlepip lovelies
Lucy x

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Theatre Shows You Need To See!

Hello! I’ve seen quite a few musicals and plays in my time. Ranging from in West End it’s self and also within the theatre that’s local to me, that being the cliffs pavilion within Southend. So I comprised a list of theatre shows you absolutely have to see whether you are a seasoned theatre-goer or a new beginner.

The Phantom of the Opera. (Probably one of the most iconic theatre shows). You can not go wrong with a theatre classic and phantom of the opera is just that. Filled with classic opera ballads that really test the vocal cords of its cast it’s a story full of love and tragedy. You’ve probably heard or even seen the movie, although I feel it’s not up there as one of my favourites; You will not regret seeing the iconic chandelier scene in such an immersive version of theatre. Phantom of the Opera is a 9/10 for me.

Les Misérables. This show is another firm favourite of mine that I have actually watched the production twice now. The first being the London West End run and the second being the Les Misérables all-stars concert run. Both were amazing examples of how incredibly talented West end performers are, these being old well-known celebrities with the likes of Alfie Boe and Michael Ball, but also newcomers like Rob Houchen. It's a fine example of classic literature based upon history being turned into a stellar production. Les Misérables is a 10/10 for me and my favourite West End show ever. 

Come From Away. I'm not sure if you can see a theme following here but I enjoy shows that have a meaning behind them. Come from Away is a musical that's based upon the events of 9/11. This show means a lot to me due to I was alive when 9/11 unfolded. Come From Away documents the events in a respectful way and I ended up leaving the show as a crying and bumbling mess. Come from Away is a shorter performance compared to the others within this list but you don't tend to feel as though you are missing anything. I give this show an 8/10.

The Book of Mormon. Now I wasn't going to add this one, because I wasn't the biggest fan of this show. I loved the songs but felt the humour wasn't really there for me. However, my boyfriend loves this show with a passion and wanted to add his opinion on here. So beware it does contain a lot of dark/dry humour so if that's not really your thing then I wouldn't recommend. Nether the less my boyfriend rates it as an 8/10 as it is one of his favourite musicals. 

Heathers! Heather and Heather! I mean, the opportunity to make that joke was there... I just had to take it alright. Seeming Heathers is coming back to the theatre scene and embarking on a UK tour it is only right I mention this stellar production. Heathers reminds me very much of old fashioned Mean girls and is an old round fell good show. I saw it last November with Carrie Hope Fletcher as Veronica Sawyer and fell in love with the happy and the low parts. If you take anything from this post I would totally recommend you see Heathers the most. It's a 10/10 for me. 

What West End/ UK Tours have you seen and would recommend? 
I hope you enjoyed this little post and thank you for reading!
Toodlepip Lovelies 
Lucy x

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A Primark Lip Liner and Crayon Duos Review.

As I was stumbling into Primark to look around while I was shopping in lakeside (for yes the c-word) Christmas presents. I noticed the array of new beauty items Primark has to offer.

Now I’ve heard many a mixed review when it comes to this but something I have heard just positive reviews about is the Primark lip products so I thought I would buy a few to try them out.
I decided to buy the lip liner and lip crayon duos that cost, yes only two pounds each with really is a steal seeming the product is a two in one. They had a few different shades but I decided to only pick up three as the others on the shelf were more of a dark browny and bright pink colours that I don’t really suit wearing. The colours showed above are labelled as seen.
The shade ‘red’ as the name suggests is a deep bright red that is an intense as you would expect a red to be.
The lip liners are easy to use as they are small and precise and make filling in the rest of your lips with the crayon end of the product great. The crayon side is not too big so you don’t end up getting lip product halfway up your cheek. But maybe, just maybe that’s just something that ends up happening to me. 

They are of a matte finishing texture and last a good while on my lips without needing to be topped up. However, they don’t stand the test if you are eating and drinking as they sadly rub off then.

What I love most about this product is you know that both the lip liner and the lip crayon are going to match. There is quite a lot of lip products in my collection that I struggle to wear due to not having a match lip liner, and vice versa. I hate the struggle of having to try and walk around a store with a lipstick in hand trying to find the matching lip liner to it.
The nude shades ‘toast’ and ‘barely there’ are my perfect nude shades that compliment my more simple everyday make up or if I’m going a bit heavier with my eye makeup. Not that I do that very often but I’m trying to experiment more than just wear the same three pink eyeshadows.

Although the packaging is something that doesn’t sell an item to me it is worth noting here that I enjoy the simplicity of the Matte black look. And the colour of the shades being the entire cap as opposed to just being a sticker on the bottom. I like being able to find exactly what I want when trying to find a lip product and hate having to search through my massive selection.

Overall, for the price of these lip products being 2 pounds each I really think they are worth purchasing. The shade range is a little limited however you can not complain as the shades they do, and the formulas within them are great.

Have you ever bought or tried any Primark make up before? 
Thank you for reading.
Toodlepip lovelies.
Lucy x

Thursday, November 7, 2019

My November Goals.

This year been a weird one for me, in some ways I feel I’ve been very accomplished in what I’ve got out of this year. Passing my first year of university to name a few. However, with only two months left in this year, I really want to try and make more of an effort to be more productive and proactive. So I've compiled a list of things I want to get done.

Participate in many a holiday activity or tradition.

With November comes Christmas light switch on and fireworks. Pub quizzes and festive dinners. I wanna make more of an effort to make plans with friends. To go out and see and do things a lot more. I love surrounding myself with good energy and friends and this month I want to really engage.

Take up a new hobby.
This month and October I’ve really taken a personal reflection upon scheduling myself and making sure I’m not spending hours upon hours on the university to the put that the sheer amount of work I am doing is counterproductive and I end up getting less done than one had thought. So now I have a bunch of free time opened up for me that I really want to use this time to invest in doing things I love. Aside from getting back into reading for pleasure and not for my degree. I want to learn a new hobby whether that be learning to play the piano or getting back into yoga we shall see. Spend more time committing to my blog and writing in general. I’ve been a bit sporadic when it comes to writing on here, sometimes I’ve been able to write once a week others I’ve not posted in a few months. I really want to stick with posting regularly whether that be once a week or twice a week. I am yet to decide what I do but stick around for what comes next. Really look after my skin.
I suffer from spots quite badly. I eat sweets I get a spot. I don’t drink enough water that day, I get spots. So I really want to focus on what I’m putting in my body and making sure i get back on track with my healthy eating and working out. Something I’ve been neglecting during my bad mental health days. I see a real improvement in myself when I’m stretching and working out every other day.

Making more time for myself.
Alongside the hobby and scheduling my work//home life balance I want to make sure I have a lot more free time and what free time I do have I use for doing things I actually enjoy. A lot of the time I come home from work and I end up telling myself I’ll spend a bit of time working on my uni work which normally results in me spending hours and it’s already 8 o’clock in the evening and the time has just flown by. So for me, it’s really important that I manage my time more effectively.

I hope you enjoyed reading this little blog post today and I’ll for you to share some goals or things you need to tackle upon your to-do list for this month.

Toodlepip lovelies
Lucy x

Monday, November 4, 2019

A October Round Up // Laughter, Tears and Friends.

I'm an extrovert by nature, but my anxiety causes me to be an introvert. Anxiety is something I have been living with for many years, but it never really gets any easier. My anxiety causes many a controlling tendency and fills me with a lot of self-doubts. Self-doubt is something I very struggle to deal with. I spend a lot of my time focused upon my University degree and going to work I don't leave a lot of time for my friends or any free time for myself in general. During October, I decided to try and change that nagging voice within my head and create some sort of balance. I call this my 'Zen'  Mindset.

This month I've tackled with building a built-in wardrobe with my boyfriend, unblocking our drain twice, a lot of crying, a hyperventilating panic attack, planing a Halloween party and celebrating my 21st Birthday. Things have gone wrong for sure, I've not managed to control my excessive mood swings or the anxiety funky feeling I get when I'm on my own but I've accomplished a hell of a lot. I've managed to throw a Halloween party, work towards my university deadlines and slowly start feeling more not only body confident but confident in the person I am growing up to become.

I'm not saying i'm totally happy with where I am. There is a lot more I need to do, and there is a lot more I need to work out with inside of myself but I'm certainly going in the right direction. I'm so happy to be surrounded around the people I' have and I'm lucky to call them my friends. I especially am grateful for the man I lucky to call my boyfriend who sticks with me through many tears and crying and also all the happy memories I'm lucky to share with him. 

The future looks bright my friends.
Thank you for reading this little spontaneous blogpost! 
Toodlepip lovelies! 
Lucy x