Music Monday #4

Another Monday, another load of videos for you! No pre-amble this week; let’s get straight to the music.

1. Dimmu Borgir- Dimmu Borgir

This is one of my favourite songs of all time. I think it’s the theatricality and use of the choir, but also it’s just an amazing call to arms for any Dimmu Borgir fan. My favourite bit starts at about 2:17 minutes in and peaks at the amazing bit of orchestration at 2:47-3:02. Just… it gets to me somewhere deep inside. I love it.

2. AFI- Medicate

I’ve spoken before about how Crash Love isn’t my favourite AFI album but this song has been on my playlist this week. There’s something about it that’s growing on me- in fact the whole record is growing on me!

3. Cradle of Filth- Right Wing of the Garden Triptych

Hammer of the Witches is out on Friday- I am so excited I can hardly wait! The album sounds like Cradle from a few years ago and I’m so looking forward to it. Hyped!

4. Kiuas- Warrior Soul

This is an oldie but a good one. It’s a real motivation song, gets the blood pumping. It’s a good one and has some insane guitar work, and to be honest I’ve always thought it was a shame that Kiuas didn’t get more recognition; they’re a solid symphonic sort of power metal band!

5. The Haunted Mansion- Grim Grinning Ghosts

I’m getting ready for my holiday; what can I say? I fully intend to remind myself of the lyrics before we go away, so I can sing this song the entire away around the ride at Disney Magic Kingdom. Yep, I’m gonna be that person!

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The Sunday Update #2

So it’s after midnight but I’m still awake so this totally counts as Sunday.

It’s been another interesting week, although nothing much has really happened. Well, some things have happened.

I had the Inset day at my new school for September, which was equal parts useful and terrifying and interesting and exciting. I’m going in this week for the handover morning, to meet my new class which will be fun. This whole teacher thing seems very very real now and I’m not sure how I feel about it all!

I also managed a run this morning; better than I’ve run in a while. I ran for 2.55 miles, slightly slower than I have been but I’m happy with that because I’m running! I ran along my ‘nightmare route’- rather than cutting it out, I included the horrible, super long and super deceptive gradual incline right at the beginning and I didn’t want to cry this time! I think the trick is to tell myself “yes, this bit is gonna suck, these next 10 minutes are going to be horrible, but you can see where it ends and you know the next bit is fine”. Self motivation!

I finished buying all the things I needed to get before I go on holiday, so now the countdown starts! I have four and a half days left in my job (ever!) and five days until we go to Florida, and I’m so excited. I’m a bit weirded out about leaving my job- I don’t think it’s properly sunk in yet- but I’m sure it’ll hit me on Friday at the staff BBQ. However, tonight we organised what days we’re going to go to each theme park (Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure and all four Disney parks) and I booked our Fast Passes for the Disney parks- I’m like a child, I’m so excited! I can’t wait to go now! I’ll start writing all of my to-pack lists and hopefully I’ll get some of my library books read so I can take them back to the library and either get some new ones out for my holiday or just renew the ones I don’t manage to read.

I thought I’d show you my outfit from today. I was in a bit of a ‘black metal chick’ sort of mood- I’ve not worn a band t-shirt apart from working out in ages- and so I teamed my new-ish ripped skinny jeans from Yours with my Watain t-shirt. Nice and relaxed and casual but I still think it looks pretty good.

As a bit of a change from the norm, I thought I’d share the YouTube video I made for my Sunday update with you all! It’s got the details of my last pre-holiday haul as well as other little bits. I’d really appreciate if you liked my video (if you like it!) or even subscribed to my channel if you’re so inclined!

How was your Sunday?

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June Favourites

Okay… I’ll hold my hands up here and beg for your forgiveness. I’m 5 days late with my favourites post!

In my defense, I had this all ready to go (and my video filmed) on the first of June… but I fell asleep before I wrote the post, or published the video, so the vlog didn’t go live until the next day… and then I fell asleep after it had uploaded so I didn’t get to write this…

Excuse excuse excuse, bla bla bla, so on and so forth…

But it’s here! Here it is! My June favourites!

Here are my favourites for last month. A couple of non-beauty items in there; aren’t you proud!?

My beauty favourites from last month are a bit of a mixed bunch. Clockwise from the top, we have the Makeup Revolution Mermaids vs Unicorns palette; you guys know how much I love this, right? This is my current favourite palette (… of all time?) and I just can’t get over the shades or how good they all are. I tested out some of the ‘Unicorn’ shades at the weekend and they’re just as good as the ‘Mermaid’ side so I’m a happy bunny! Next is the Urban Decay All Nighter makeup setting spray, and this stuff is amazing. I’ll often mix it in with my foundation as I apply it, as well as spraying everything after my whole face is on (but BEFORE mascara and/or liquid liner!) and it really does what it says on the tin, so to speak. I’m going to grab a full sized bottle ASAP! Next round is my MAC Pro Longwear Foundation; I have it in NC15. This is my current favourite foundation and I just love it. It goes on well, it’s long wearing and doesn’t give you ‘flat face’ in the same way a lot of my other bases do. We then have Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful Sunshield Superfluid with an SPF of 50, and this is an essential product this time of the year. It works well alongside other moisturising products but is pretty good as a moisturiser by itself, and it offers a really good level of protection. Back to makeup, my next favourite is the Urban Decay Ink For Eyes waterproof precision eye pen, which is possibly my new holy grail liquid liner pen. It’s solid black, easy to apply and the nib is the perfect thinness to get a really precise, thin line. Finally, there’s the E.L.F. Professional Smudge Eye Sponge, maybe a bit of a strange pick but I’ve used it so much this month to smudge out my liner and it’s just a really good, straightforward member of my brush/tools collection. I’ve had it in the makeup bag I take out and about with me and it’s also pretty good for tidying things up if product has transferred around my eye.

Lastly, here are my non-beauty favourites from June. The first one is Burials by AFI, which is possibly my single most played album from the whole month. AFI are one of my favourite bands of all time, if not the sole favourite, and their latest release (although it’s a couple of years old now) is phenomenal. There’s not a bad track on there and until recently it’s been in my car every single day. A great album. My final favourite is my Yankee Candle in Beach Flowers; a perfect summer scent! I tend to like the more earthy, outdoorsy sort of scents from Yankee, though I do like a floral or a fruity scent sometimes, and this is the best of all of those things. I got it for my birthday a couple of years ago and it’s still going strong so it’s well worth the (slightly ridiculous) price!

What were your favourite things from last month?

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The Hair Dilemma

So.

I want to talk to y’all about hair. My hair, specifically, but a more general discussion on that stuff that grows out of our heads.

I go through stages with my hair, and my hair wants, etc. I pretty much want to change it all the time but my main hair desires flit between gorgeous, gothy, mermaidy lengths and short, sharp, messy cuts.

Does anyone else have that? That hair envy of both those girls with Morticia Addams length locks, that flow down their backs and swish around by their waists, and then those girls with the briefest, flirtiest and punkiest of pixie cuts, all ears on show and swanlike necks and tiny little elfin features?

I seriously suffer from that.

I even have the Pinterest board to prove it.

Currently, my board is mainly filled with short to bob haircuts and I think I’m going to go for the chop again, hopefully before I go on holiday. It’s just my hair is so thick and it’s so hot right now, especially at night, and it’s going to be even hotter and more humid in Florida guys, and right now my hair’s at that length where it’s sitting in an annoying place on the back of my neck/my upper back and it’s just… argh!

Thing is… part of me wants to stick it out and grow it out as long as I can stand it again. But I don’t know if I can bare it.

Also… Whilst I’m still not super confident with my hair and being a fatter kinda lady, I think I do look better with shorter hair. And even though I hated it the last time I cut it short short (so… a couple of years ago), I think this time as I’d be making the choice myself and actually want it cut it’ll be totally different. There won’t be a job or whatever standing over me forcing me to chop off my mid back length hair.

I also kinda want to change the colour. Either go super duper dark again, or a bit blonde, or ‘rose gold’ (check out Zoe Newlove’s hair here, this is pretty much one of the cuts and colours I’m lusting over now!), or super red/ginger or anything. Girl just needs to experiment with her look, y’know?

To give you some idea of some of the ‘sleb sort of hair I’m lusting after at the moment (also, ha, none of these ladies have the same face shapes as me as far as I’m aware)… but also remember I have a TONNE of different cuts on my pinterest but I don’t want to include the images here!:

Julianne Hough’s hair here is just gorgeous, especially the way it’s a little shorter in the back without looking all horrific and stacked ‘mom-bob’ sort of thing.

But I also love it (maybe more!?) once she shortened it more.

Lily Collins is another one. Her short bob is just… stunning. Again the perfect amount of versatility, a little longer in front… beaut.

Her newer short hair, however… ugh. Just look at it, guys.

Even on her ‘dressing down’ days her hair looks perfect.

Hayley Williams is another person I have major hair envy for. I wasn’t totally enamoured with her totally blunt cut, super short bob- it looked a bit like a helmet, to be frank- but now it’s grown out, ohmyword.

I of course have super hair-colour envy too. The cut here is perfect, though. Again the versatility of that long-ish undercut- she can brush it over to look like an asymmetrical pixie, she can wear it like a short-ish bob… just unf.

Sienna Miller’s also got it going on right now, guys.

I don’t think any of these ladies have the same sort of hair as me, though, nor do they have the same sort of face shape, and I’m still a bit self conscious about my fat face/potential for double chin.

So what’s a girl to do!?

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Music Monday #3

This week has been a weird one for music. I’ve been listening to AFI almost non stop- where’s the change there- but it’s been pretty much metal, metal METAL otherwise.

Oh, and show tunes.

1. AFI- Deep Slow Panic

I’ve still got Burials on repeat- can’t say enough how much I love that album. This is a really lovely song, the lyrics are really bittersweet and again sort of sum up my mental state.

2. Iron Maiden- Can I Play With Madness

Can’t go wrong with a bit of Maiden! This song, incidentally, is a brilliant ‘running’ song. I flew down the section of my running route when this came on in my playlist, it’s just amazing and it’s surprisingly fun to air-guitar along to as you run.

3. Cradle of Filth- Mannequin

Cradle are one of my favourite bands. I’ll probably get lynched for saying this, but I find them and Dimmu Borgir pretty similar and the two of those bands are constantly vying for a spot on my Top 5/10 favourite bands list. Maybe it’s because their new album Hammer of The Witches is out next Friday,  but Cradle are currently winning. This song is a beaut.

4. Turisas- To Holmgard and Beyond

Turisas, however, are a permanent fixture on my favourites list. They’re just… they’re perfect, and they’re one of the best bands I have ever seen live (and I’ve seen them twice!). This is another song on my running list that just made the struggle I was having melt away temporarily into joy as I listened to this awesomeness. Running across a field and shouting “Rather sold as a slave to the Saracens than chained to your bed, chained by your life!” at a load of startled horses is quite a good way to spend a morning.

5. Beauty and the Beast Original Broadway Cast- If I Can’t Love Her

And here’s the show tune! I was having a mammoth chat about Beauty and the Beast with a friend the other day and for the rest of the evening I just listened to this over and over. It’s such a beautiful song; you can hear the pain in the Beast’s voice as he sings, so poignant and just ugh. This is one of my favourite songs of all time so I never tire of hearing it (… and singing along to every single word.)

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Recent Eats

Okay. So some of you might hate this post, but I’m still going to write it. So if food and nutrition and pictures of therein are not your thing, feel free to skip this one! I try to eat around 1500-1700 calories a day, though myfitnesspal say I should eat more (around 1890 calories a day) and I try to leave enough room with each of my three meals for snacks and treats during the day. I don’t think anyone gains anything by jumping straight into a restrictive diet and saying you’ll never eat this or that again. I don’t think it’s a good thing.

These won’t be in any chronological order, by the way. And I’m sorry that some of them are quite similar…

Basically, at the moment I’m on something of a salad-esque kick. I think there’s something beautifully simplistic about salads and the fact that you can literally throw a load of different bits and pieces into a bowl and call it lunch. So many people moan about salads  being boring rabbit food, but if you think beyond the lettuce-cucumber-tomato box then they’re beautiful, delicious and substantial meals!

Salad number one is a base of ‘sweet and crunchy’ salad from Tesco (a mix of iceberg lettuce, red cabbage and carrot), cucumber and tomato with mixed olives, marinated red peppers (I buy big jars of Polish branded ones for fairly little money and lots and lots of flavour!), a big dollop of red pepper houmous and strips of Hickory Smoked Tofurkey. This was really tasty.

Salad number two was a bit of an indulgence and one of my favourites! There was a pack of honey roasted salmon in the ‘sin bin’ when I went shopping so into my salad that went, along with mixed leaves (rocket, spinach, that sort of thing), giant garlic-stuffed olives and sweet peppadews.

Salad number three is quite possibly the salad that kickstarted my salad obsession! Mixed leaves, cucumbers, tomatoes, pimento-stuffed peppers, sweet peppadews, artichoke hearts, avocado and one of these gorgeous BBQ fish fillets I’ve been buying from Iceland. You cook them from frozen and they’re just so good. Perfect with rice and veggies, chips, baked potato, pasta or in a salad like this. Or any way you’d want to eat some fish to be honest!

This one’s less of a salad and more of a bowl. That’s another great way to construct a salad and is especially good if you have lots of leftover veggies from a roast or something; just plonk them all down in different spaces of a bowl and tuck in! This one was mixed leaves, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, mixed olives with sundried tomatoes, houmous and avocado. This was really yummy.

Something else I’ve been really trying to focus on recently is eating breakfast. Now I sometimes still do skip it and that’s normally because either a) I find it really hard to eat early in the morning, so if I’m getting up for a full day of work I can’t eat breakfast because I don’t feel hungry and eating would make me sick, or b) I know I’m eating something huge later that day and would rather save some calories! Probably not a good thing but never mind! I know however that once I’m working proper days as a trainee teacher I’ll need the energy so I’ll have to work out either a way to eat in the morning or take some breakfast food with me to work!

I’ve been loving Weetabix really, with almond milk (lactose intolerant!) and fruit. Here I’ve cut up bananas with it but it’s also really good with blueberries or strawberries. I find sweet breakfast easier to eat than savoury, sometimes, though I’m not too sure how good it is for me to start the day with a load of sugar, natural or not! Here I had it with a green tea, which is also something else I’m trying to do- drink more water and tea rather than Diet Coke! It’s working so far!

Another breakfast that I enjoy and that is a good energy booster in the morning is a slice of toast, spread with cashew nut butter (I can’t stand peanut butter!) and topped with banana, and I had it here with the rest of the banana and loads of strawberries and blueberries. I think it’s because it’s summer and they’re properly in season but the strawberries I’ve been getting of late have been so tasty.

I also do like a savoury breakfast sometimes, even though I said I find a sweet breakfast easier to eat (!), and my favourite is avocado on toast. Sometimes if I’m eating more of a brunch sort of meal or I’m feeling like stretching my breakfast calories I might have eggs as well. I especially like avocado egg-in-a-basket- toast your bread, spread it with avocado and cut the middle out with a little round pastry cutter. Pop the avocado toast in a frying pan (sprayed with a little cooking spray) and crack an egg into the hole. Flip once when it’s starting to get really opaque, flip out onto a plate, and devour. So good, guys.

This was dinner from one of the days this week and it was so tasty I’m definitely going to have to do it again! It was just a pack of stir fry veg- mange tout, tenderstem broccoli, sweetcorn and a red chilli I think!- which I cooked up with a little fish sauce and kicap manis, into which I tipped a small pouch of microwave rice and veggies (frozen ones, I get bags of these and egg fried rice and they’re perfectly sized for a dinner portion) and then flaked a mostly-cooked frozen tuna steak. All of the flavours mixed perfectly together, it was lovely and moist and the vegetables were just on that cusp between tender and crunchy. Ugh I can taste it as I write about it and it was so tasty!

This was dinner from last night and it was so good I wanted to talk about it! We had a ‘taco and movie night’ yesterday, and the tacos were delicious! My mum goes to Weight Watchers (not for me) and she gets a little booklet magazine thing every now and again. Well her most recent one had this recipe for Quorn tacos and we decided we needed to try it. So here are delicious Quorn tacos, served with reduced-fat cheese (mum insisted), homemade tzatziki (fat free yoghurt, fresh mint and cucumber) and a green salad. We also had a few prawns that needed using up as well, and I may have stuffed some of them into a leftover taco shell (as may have my mum…) but this felt like an indulgent treat whilst not being too bad!

Finally- this isn’t a tasty meal I’ve put together myself, but I just have to declare my love for Skyr yoghurt. This stuff is so good, I actually prefer it to my previous favourite of Fage Total 0%/Fruyo. It’s Icelandic yoghurt, it’s super high in protein and fat free, and I like ALL OF THE FLAVOURS. Natural/plain, layered with Nordic Mixed Berries/Strawberry/Apple and Lingonberry/Sour Cherry… it’s all good! I haven’t tried the honey one but I assume that’s just as delicious. YUM.

PHEW. So that’s some food I’ve been eating recently. If you’d like me to, I’d be more than happy to share any recipes. Is this something you’d like me to post more of in future? What have you been eating recently? Let me know!

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The Sunday Update #1

I mentioned I’d be blogging this on my latest YouTube video, so here it is!

Today was Sunday, which I like to try and keep as a bit of a rest type day. I’ll sleep in a bit (… not usually as much as today, I forgot to put my ‘Sunday alarm’ on so slept to a ridiculous time!) and then go for a run, have a leisurely brunch type dinner, have a bath with a good book and a face pack and maybe redo my nails, as well as doing any things I still need to do to prepare for the week ahead. I’m sure I won’t have quite so much time to myself come September, when I’ll be full throttle into my teacher training, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to keep some of it up!

Speaking of running, I’ve been struggling a bit lately. I think it’s because it’s been getting hotter and more humid, but it’s been a real slog. I have to get out of the mindset that because I can run 5km, I have to run 5km every single time. I had to stop just under 2 miles today, just over 3km, because it was so humid and sticky it was like running through a solid wall of heat. However, I beat the me that would have stayed inside on the sofa so that’s a good thing. I’m down nearly 70lbs in total now, so I’ve got to keep on keeping on!

I’m not trying to do some ultra high-fashion modelesque pose here, I promise- I was just squinting into the sun! I have recently fallen head over heels in love with Posture by Illamasqua, the lovely lipstick I’m wearing in the picture above, and it’s so good; I only wish it wasn’t so matte/hard to wear! After wearing it for a while it just goes all flaky and stuff on my lips. Worth it for the lovely grey-mauve sort of colour though. Also here you can see my new Zombie necklace- green diamante and a little skull charm, what’s not to love?

Here’s a recent outfit and a new-ish addition to my wardrobe which is quickly becoming a favourite. It’s from Kreepsville 666 and is based on the iconic picture of Kyra Schon’s character from Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, and I LOVE IT. It’s so comfortable, reasonably flattering and will go with me a few sizes as I lose weight. Kreepsville 666 are definitely one of my favourite clothing brands at the moment! I got this from Attitude alongside the necklace I just mentioned and I’m still being impressed by their customer service!

Also, here are a few bits I recently picked up in Primark! At the top are some really boring things; another of their basic black stretch t-shirts (brilliant wardrobe essentials!) and a couple of pair of leggings, one ‘capri’ length and the other ‘crop’ which will be perfect for my holiday coming up. Then the grey t-shirt is a crop, sleeveless top with “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good” on the front (Harry Potter eh <3), then a lovely dark green cotton t-shirt and finally a Mickey Mouse top- definitely a for-holiday purchase!

I also bought this- a PS. Love Your Nails fast dry spray for nail polish and I can vouch for it (having just used it)- it’s BRILLIANT. I applied my nail varnish, waited a couple of seconds and sprayed it on. After about 30 secs it was completely bone dry to the touch. To be fair I was using an Illamasqua polish which are pretty quick to dry anyway, but not that fast! It was only 80p- an absolute bargain.

Otherwise, lately I’ve been really trying to do some preparation for my course in September. We were given a little reading list with some gentle suggestions that we read as many of the books on the list as we can, if not buy them outright, and I managed to find a couple in my local library, so I’ve been taking notes from some very dry books on teaching Primary Science and Mathematics, amongst other things!

I’ve also been making the most of the library to indulge in some more personal reading. At the moment, I’m reading The Map of Marvels by David Calcutt- I think it’s really a children’s book, but that’s something that’ll be useful for my course anyway and it seems like a pretty good, adventure/fantasy sort of thing-, Torment by Lauren Kate- a sequel to Fallen which I read earlier in the year and a typical, supernatural romance style Young Adult/Teen fiction book but not actually that bad!- and Small Favour by Jim Butcher, the 10th in the Dresden Files series and one of my favourite reads at the moment. These books are so good, you guys. I’m also reading How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell but I’m actually sort of disappointed with it, which is a shame because the movie is one of my favourites.

I’ve also been doing some more YouTube recently! Yesterday, I posted a High End vs High Street video- of which I will be doing at least one blog post on!

And today, I posted a vlog that’s based around this Sunday Update post! I don’t know why I’m doing the metal horns in the thumbnail but why not! Please do check out my YouTube channel; I don’t have many subscribers or views at the moment but I’m enjoying making the videos anyway!

I’m going to post about some recent food that I’ve eaten, because I figured that would just make this post even longer than it already is! What have you been up to lately?

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