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The Book List #17

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain
year: 2000 | pages: 320 | rating: 2/5

While I enjoy watching Anthony Bourdain's television series Parts Unknown, his book - Kitchen Confidential - falls flat. The "seedy underbelly" Bourdain promises to expose is neither seedy nor shocking (unless the revelation that kitchen staff curse and tell crude jokes comes as somewhat of a surprise to you); nothing new or novel is revealed and the reminiscent stories of Bourdain's past aren't all that interesting either. I found Bourdain's narration to be monotone without life nor passion (even when he recalls the memory that ignited his love affair with food). Kitchen Confidential only served to make me realise the reason I like seeing the places Anthony Bourdain visits has nothing to do with Bourdain himself but the countries, food, and culture he experiences.

Tell All by Chuck Palahniuk
year: 2010 | pages: 192 | rating: 1/5

When Webster Carlton Westward III arrives on the scene to seduce Katherine Kenton, Hazie Coogan - Katherine's maid and our narrator - is suspicious of his ulterior motives. When Hazie finds Webster's written memoir of his life, she discovers a series of sinister alternative endings in which Katherine dies. Presuming Webster means to kill off Katherine to cash in on her story, Hazie has to find a way to stop him. A lot of name dropping and obscenities are dropped in this this ode to old Hollywood and the story itself fails to hold up to Palahniuk's previous work. The plot, although potentially intriguing, is weak; Tell All falls short and fails to deliver, leaving the reader apathetic.

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
year: 2011 | pages: 150 | rating: 4/5

The less you know of this story before you read it, the better. Our narrator is Tony Webster, a retired middle-aged divorcee living alone who remembers his four childhood friends, friends who swore to stay friends for life. Despite the less than eventful school years, a poignant moment sticks with Tony when he hears of another boy at the school who hung himself after getting a girl pregnant. When the four friends attend different universities at the end of school, their close friendship wanes.. until a lawyer's letter addressed to Tony turns up and he starts to question his childhood memories. A phenomenal short read where not everything is as it seems.

Under the Skin by Michel Faber
year: 2000| pages: 296 | rating: 3/5

This book is all about the big reveal; despite the synopsis sounding pretty self explanatory - "seductive female driver picks up hitchhikers who wouldn't be missed if they disappear" - Under the Skin isn't what you think it is and doesn't make much sense until about halfway through when the realisation finally you. Faber teases with slight hints and nudges throughout the first hundred pages, weaving an eerily compelling mystery.. but after the reveal things level out and end on a rather poignant, melancholic note.

{ the book list #1-16 }

Staying On Track With The Minimal Wardrobe

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Breaking the habit of buying new clothes and sticking to the minimal wardrobe rules can be tough; affordable clothing is easily accessible and doesn't require the effort and consideration that a curated wardrobe demands. Finding the perfect pieces isn't always easy, making the temptation to 'buy cheap' all the more irresistible.

However, there are ways of staying on track and breaking the rules, providing it's done occasionally and within boundaries. There is room for opportunistic purchases and adding overlooked yet important key items to your wardrobe.

Avoid breaking the rules by:
- being a conscious shopper
- avoiding the sales
- unsubscribing from fashion mailing lists
- building a wishlist
- sticking to it
- thinking twice before buying
- rediscovering existing pieces
- thinking about what you're saving

If you do break the rules remember to:
- limit spending
- buy only high quality garments
- stick to staples from the basic wardrobe
- buy ethical, sustainable, and local clothes
- keep the minimal wardrobe ethos in mind

Clean Up

Monday, July 28, 2014

Everyone knows how important it is to regularly clean make-up brushes and that amazing feeling you get after they have been freshly washed but how frequently do you clean your make-up products and the storage you keep them in?

Nothing makes my skin crawl more than seeing dirty make-up products so I regularly clean down surfaces, drawers, and the products themselves to make sure everything looks brand new and germ free for as long as possible. I store the bulk of my products in a small filing cabinet, with each drawer dedicated to different products: make-up, skin-, hair-, and nail-care along with storage for wash cloths and a miniature first aid kit. Every month this storage gets completely emptied, disinfected, and washed down, with each individual product getting wiped over using q-tips, baby wipes, and mild soap. Products that don't keep well and can't be cleaned (mascara and doe-foot applicators) get thrown away.

A little bit of upkeep goes a long way; regularly cleaning your products and storage means things tend to last longer, look nicer, and stay organised. It also means you keep on top of those nasty out of date products and nothing ends up festering (long lost and forgotten) in among your storage.

{ how to clean your brushes }

17 Books Worth Rereading

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Some books deserve to be reread.

1. Watchmen by Alan Moore
2. Ghost World by Daniel Clowes
3. The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
4. The Greek Myths by Robert Graves
5. House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
6. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
7. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
8. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
9. The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien
10. No Logo by Naomi Klein
11. Andersen's Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
12. Watership Down by Richard Adams
13. Matilda by Roahl Dahl
14. The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
15. Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
16. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
17. The Shining by Stephen King

{ more reading suggestions }

Black Summer

Friday, July 25, 2014

Alexander Wang Black Jersey Tank Dress c/o Harvey Nicols

{ Vintage Two-Tone Glasses | Jo Malone Amber & Patchouli Cologne | Monki Eye Shoes | Handmade Hashtag Tote Bag | Oh My Clumsy Heart Muriel Necklace | Oh My Clumsy Heart Giant Triangle Necklace | T by Alexander Wang Black Jersey Tank Dress }

Summer isn't my season; my wardrobe severely lacks summer appropriate options and because of all this hazy heat we have been experiencing, I have resigned myself to lounging around the apartment eating ice lollies in front of a floor fan, trying my very best not to move at all if possible.

This Black Jersey Tank Dress by Alexander Wang has come into my life and changed everything. Fitted and figure hugging yet lightweight and cooling with enough skin exposed you don't feel you're stifling; on super hots days this is all you need while in cooler weather you can layer it up making it ones of those staple items I never knew I needed.

{ Fox and Star Le Cahier Latte Notebook | Handmade Wooden Pen | ASOS Lennon Slipper Shoes | Chilton Satchel | Yayer Vintage Tropical Crop Top | T by Alexander Wang Black Jersey Tank Dress }

{ Canon PowerShot G12 | Handmade Wooden Pen | River Island Contrast Chelsea Boots | Kanken Mini Black and Ox Red | Vero Moda Floral Top | T by Alexander Wang Black Jersey Tank Dress }

7 Things You Should Stop Believing In

Thursday, July 24, 2014

1. Expensive beauty products are better than inexpensive ones
2. 100% natural branded beauty products exist
3. and they are better than synthetic products by default
4. Miracle products can cure wrinkles, cellulite, and dark circles
5. Sales people know everything
6. What you see in the magazines
7. The hype is real

{ things to remember }

Reading Rules

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

- carry a book everywhere
- read one book at a time
- finish reading at least 75%
- don't skip ahead
- speed reading is OK
- read what you want to not what you think you should
- books and ebooks are all equal
- take a (short) break in between books
- think over what you've read
- talk about it
- well loved books look well loved
- great books deserve to be reread
- silence please

9 Things To Keep Me Organised

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

1. To-do Lists | the check list for success
2. Notebook Full of Notes | for every single idea ever
3. Daily Planner | knowing what needs to get done today
4. Sunrise Calendar | for keeping track of the month ahead
5. Scheduling | everything from mail outs to blog posts
6. Planning Ahead | so you're never unprepared
7. Not Multitasking | strict times for specific tasks
8. Google Keep | for notes on the go
9. Digital Folders | a maze of organisation

Week Notes #11

Sunday, July 20, 2014

{ new stationary }

{ clean brushes }

{ these three for fixing my skin woes }

other things:
| how to pack a jar salad
| glitter manicure
| #1 plant care tip
| rule of three
| best practices for blogging success

13 Piece Capsule Make-up Collection

Thursday, July 17, 2014

1. BB Cream / Primer
2. Foundation
3. Concealer
4. Eyebrow kit
5. Palette
6. Eyeliner
7. Mascara
8. Highlighter
9. Neutral blusher
10. Natural blusher
11. Lip balm
12. Natural lipstick
13. Bold lipstick

{ how to create a capsule make-up collection }

The Book List #16

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
year: 1996 | pages: 835 | rating: 2/5

I did not enjoy the TV adaptation of Game of Thrones (I quit after 10 long, arduous episodes) but, as with all things praised for their greatness, I thought it only fair to give the series, A Song of Fire and Ice, a chance. A Game of Thrones was enjoyable enough; the first in this epic fantasy series is well paced with a solid history dating back thousands of years. Each chapter is written from the perspective of several characters, which grows as the series progresses and the story becomes more complex as the seven families fight for control of Westeros and against the superhuman Others. Violence, sexuality, and moral ambiguity alongside a diverse portrayal of women, religion, and a sense of realism over magic, makes A Game of Thrones one of the better books of its genre. I raced through the first book and while I enjoyed the story, I'm not entirely sure when I will be picking up the next in the series.

Child of God by Cormac McCarthy
year: 1973 | pages: 192 | rating: 4/5

Lester Ballard, a young outcast, is falsely accused of rape and, when released from jail, returns to the hills of East Tennessee where his violent, disturbed nature and sexual perversions fester, aiding his descent into unspeakably sordid crimes. As the story progresses, we witness Ballard's ever-growing isolation from society; we witness cruelty, moral degradation, and sexual deviancy as the main themes within the narrative. A dark, brooding book, aided by Cormac McCarthy's unique writing style makes Child of God well worth reading if you enjoy challenging literary fiction.

Adventure Time Vol. 1 by Ryan North, Braden Lamb, and Shelli Paroline
year: 2012 | pages: 128 | rating: 4/5

If you're a fan of Adventure Time already there isn't anything not to love about these graphic novels; Adventure Time Vol. 1 sees The Lich return to the Land of Ooo hellbent on destroying everything, leaving Finn and Jake do what they do best. The stories feature BMO, Princess Bubblegum, Marceline, LSP, and the Ice King plus pretty much everyone else. These comics are not adaptations of the television series, they are original stories written by Ryan North making them equally as charming as any of the cartoon episodes.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
year: 1985 | pages: 324 | rating: 3/5

In this science fiction novel, the government breeds child geniuses to train them as soldiers. Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is drafted into Battle School for military training where his exceptional leadership skills make him respected and revered in the Battle Room. Ender suffers from isolation, rivalry, pressure to perform, and the unsettling and constant fear of alien invaders. Not being able to see his family combined with his previous relationship with his cruel brother and his adoring sister only deepens Ender's psychological problems. The concept of Ender's Game is amazing and, at times, incredibly well thought out, yet in places the writing becomes tedious and drawn out; the narrative lacks a fluid rhythm, which makes the book a little dry to read. I enjoyed the overarching story, I just would have preferred a more slick writing style.

{ the book list #1-15 }

...And Relax

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

{ Kobo eReader | Cattier Pink Clay Mask | Korres Basil Lemon Gel | Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse | Honest Yuzu Candle }

1. Light a candle
2. Take a bath
3. Apply a face mask
4. Indulge in skin care
5. Read a good book

100 Per Cent

Monday, July 14, 2014

If you find the traditional approach to cleaning out your wardrobe a little too much like hard work, the '100 per cent' method might be a more honest way of doing things. This fresh approach provides a more transparent way of looking at the contents of your wardrobe and making you confront the truth about all those clothes you're hoarding. The aim is to get your wardrobe up to 100 per cent, anything less and you need to start asking yourself questions..

What percentage of your clothes do you actually wear?
1. count the items
2. which ones do you honestly wear on a regular basis?
3. work out the percentage

There will be things...
- you do not wear at all
- you have never worn but wish you did
- you have never worn and know you never will
- you have never worn and don't know why you bought them
- you cannot fit into but you wish you could so you keep them just in case
- you don't want to get rid of because they cost a lot of money
- you keep for special occasions
- you keep because it is sentimental
- you still like but you do not wear
- you still like but are too worn to wear
- that you wear all the time

What you need to do next
- stop saving things for special occasions
- start wearing every single item in your wardrobe or get rid of it, no excuses
- give/throw away anything that doesn't fit
- or you haven't worn and know you won't
- or is too old and beyond repair
- stop overwashing garments
- stop being sentimental over clothing
- stop pretending you are going to lose/gain weight to fit into something
- stop using the excuse "I can't afford to spend more money on clothes"
- stop funding the disposable culture
- start buying high quality clothes
- buy more second hand clothing

Week Notes #10

Sunday, July 13, 2014

{ cherries }

{ turkish delight }

{ july's reading list }

{ tip foster & basil d'oliveira }

other things:
pineapple coconut water
cucumber water
power snacks
know your limits
6 ways to cool your anger

Instagram's Secret Club

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Instagram did something rather nice and sent out wonderful little parcels to all their suggested users; way back in October my account was featured so, after a bit of eager anticipation, I finally received this box. It is such a lovely way of saying 'thank you,' which really took me by surprise.

After flicking through the pages of this gorgeous photography book, it's rekindled my passion and enthusiasm for sharing photographs on this diverse and inspiring app. There are so many awesome people with such amazing talent it makes me a little disappointed in myself for not being as active in the community as I used to be. So I am taking this as a (huge) hint to start contributing more consistently again - starting now.

If you want to join me and +20,000 others (!!!) on Instagram, you can find me here: @ohmyclumsyheart_

What I Eat

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

{ Photograph by Jack Spicer Adams }

After discovering Peter Menzel's What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets - a photographic collection of 80 people from 30 countries and the food they eat in one day - it got me thinking about my own personal shopping habits. We mostly stick to eating whatever is in season, we buy our fruit and vegetables from a local farmer's market (which keeps the previous point in check), and we follow some sound Food Rules inspired by Michael Pollan.

Not everything we bought could be squeezed onto this table, it's missing a pile of red onions, twice as many cherries, a whole heap of walnuts plus a bag of sliced almonds, and a couple more pieces of fruit. All of this food feeds two people for just under £20 for an entire week and some of it will last longer.

What does your weekly food shop look like?

Honest Skincare

Monday, July 07, 2014

{ Photographs by Jack Spicer Adams }

The Honest Skincare studio is situated mere minutes away from my own studio in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter;
it's wonderful to discover and support such creative talent so close to home.

Honest is an independent, natural skincare brand founded by Katie Fisher. The philosophy behind the company is to produce skin care products made from carefully chosen, effective natural ingredients tailored to individual skin types. The brand blends skin-loving waxes, vitamins, and fine organic oils to create three skin care ranges: Calm, Balance, and Nourish along with an entire range designed specifically for men.

Believing nature provides us with all we need to nourish, restore, protect, and heal, Honest uses 100% pure ingredients with powerful properties to create products that will take care of your skin, gently and effectively. Each product is made by hand so you know exactly what goes into each and every item. Not only does Honest believe nature takes care of us, but they also believe we should look after nature too, which means all the packaging is simple, biodegradable, and resusable.

Simplicity runs straight through the heart of Honest Skincare, which makes the brand appealing to those wanting to strip back their beauty choices to a more refined, carefully sourced selection of natural yet effective products.

Week Notes #9

Sunday, July 06, 2014

{ new additions: honest skin care | urban decay | tom ford }

{ graphic novels: the sandman | adventure time | moomins }

{ the pineapple party }

other things:
| how to survive the sales
| kale and potato breakfast hash
| this year's best wildlife photographs
| capsule wardrobe 101
| colourless bookshelves
| photography by sean mundy

written by me (in other places):
| lessons learned
| 9 ways to be successful

What To Wear #9

Saturday, July 05, 2014

bra | top | necklace | shoes | skirt | clutch

What to wear with the Darlene necklace and matching Rosetta earrings from the Classics collection.

{ more things to wear }


Thursday, July 03, 2014

{ Tom Ford Cocoa Mirage Eye Quad | Jo Malone Amber & Patchouli Cologne | Urban Decay "Bang" Revolution Lipstick }

Today is my 30th birthday, which I am incredibly excited and happy about. Being 30 is pretty damn awesome. I am stretching my birthday out for as long as I possibly can; as far as I am concerned, my birthday started last weekend when my family made a surprise visit and it will continue to stretch on all the way through to this weekend's party. I am going to decorate the house in pom pom bunting, eat birthday cake for breakfast, and make everyone wear silly party hats whenever they step foot inside the apartment.

I also made a few choice purchases as birthday gifts to myself for making it this far. Well done me.