Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Knickers in an Insta-twist

Oh it is a sad day for fans of Instagram today isn't it? In case anyone is not up to speed (although if your Facebook is anything like mine, you'll have read this 47 times already this afternoon), today Instagram have announced a change to their terms and conditions which will allow them to to sell people's Instagram shots with no credit or payment to the original photographer.

You can read more about this here

Obviously I get that this is a bit crap because who wants their photos making money if it isn't for their own pocket. I follow a lot of professional photographers on Instagram and their only option to keep their rights over their photos seems to be to delete their account before 16 January. That I can understand - clearly if you are a pro photographer then you don't want your photos sold behind your back. However, what I am struggling to understand are all the people on my Facebook and my real life friends who simply use Instagram as a sort of daily diary and post the odd photo of their shoes or a cupcake. For a start, if the photo is not well tagged, which most of them aren't, no-one will be able to find one that they want to buy anyway. Secondly, I am not making any money from those photos so if someone wants to use one of mine for something then I am not bothered as they are not taking anything from me personally. Thirdly, I do feel like all these people who are claiming to have some kind of "artistic right" to those photos is kind of kidding themselves. I think the creators of Instagram gave us these photo effects for nothing, and I enjoy using them, for free every single day of my life. If they want to make money back from that then fine, I really couldn't care less. I am hearing a few people saying that Instagram might sell their photos to a company with a bad ethical policy and therefore that company could make money from my photo. Well I don't think that argument can realistically apply to ANYONE who shops in Asda Walmart, gets coffees from Starbucks or buys eBooks from Amazon - these companies have terrible policy and if you shop there, they are already making money from you! So nothing will change. 

I think I am mostly peed off because I love Instagram, it is by far my favourite iphone app and you could say I am a bit addicted to it. I won't delete my account but I fear that of the 200 people I follow on it, about half will. And that is sad as I like looking at people's photos. Bloody Instagram. Anyway I will leave you for now with an Instagram shot of my beautiful new camera!

Lomography Belair - CitySlicker
Are you guys "insta-addicts"? Will you be deleting your accounts now? And am I just totally missing the point?
P.S. I am not even sure if this Instagram thing will happen to be honest, because of all the bad press and the fact that millions of users are threatening to go elsewhere. Fingers crossed!

Monday, 27 August 2012

Back with a bit of a change

So I have had a five month long hiatus from blogging, and to be fair, I can't say I have missed it a huge amount. I saw my friend Rachel for the first time in ages, and she has lured me back (I think so that she has some friends and looks popular or something!). Hi Rach, if you're reading this (you'd better be after making me return to the dark side when I ought to be ironing). I think the thing is, I am not a fashion blogger, and I am certainly not a photographer so trying to make my blog be about those things, just isn't going to work. Sure I love Instagram as much as the next iphone addict, and I intend to share a bit of Lomo every now and again, but in terms of having stuff to say, I can't just write about what I am wearing (because it is usually boring and from Asda!), where I have been (often just Nandos - multiple times in a week) and the X factor (although I do love it, I just don't have a lot to add which hasn't already come up on Twitter). That is not to say I don't LOVE reading that on other people's blogs, it really appeals to my nosey nature!

So Rachel's advice to me (for she is a seasoned blogger herself now) was to write about things I care about, or things that have captured my interest lately. This seemed like good advice, because today I have already planned out 3 entries! The first of which will be published in the next few days I hope. It is a bit deep, and I know I will probably use some of the few readers I already have, but I can't really care about that, as it is more important that I write for me now. So my first entry is going to be about Lord Longford (go Google it if you are unsure who he is as I won't go into a lot of detail about all that) and how I feel about his wacky and often frowned upon views. Sorry if that is really boring to a lot of people but it is just who I am! Hope to see someone back here tomorrow, even if it is just Rachel.

On a separate note, here are some photos of me and Dave at the Olympics a few weeks ago - we had a great time watching the women's weightlifting!

Me with Holly Mangold (USA)

Inside of the ExCel Centre

I hope you have all had a great Bank Holiday and that it hasn't been ruined with this Best of British rain we are having!

Monday, 19 March 2012

My mum

 Just a quick post today, as I am bogged down at the moment in new work ventures. Sorry I have been a bit absent this past week, I have been split in about 4 different directions with work and Dave has been a bit poorly with his stomache (again!). Anyway, with it being Mother's Day here in the UK I thought I would write a little bit about my Mum. 
My whole life I have been a proper Daddy's girl - we like the same music, love the ocean, laugh at the same jokes and I even look loads like him. Growing up, I loved my Mum the same amount as my Dad but always felt we had nothing in common and man could we argue! As I have got older however, and moved away from home, I have started to notice how brilliant my mum actually is. She is the one who stays in touch (honestly I think if it was left up to Dad to call me we'd only hang out once a year at Christmas!). We talk more now too, about everything, and often her advice is the only person's that matters to me. Also, every single day I realise I am turning into her, which, when I was a teenager would have horrified me I think, but now, I am proud to be a chip off the old block. As I meet other people's mothers (and sad to say, my mother in law is a great example), it only reinforces the idea that my Mum is the best Mum in the world. She is hard as nails, not like she gets in pub brawls or does weights at the gym or anything, but she is emotionally tough. When my Nan (rest in peace) had her stroke a few years ago, and all Mum's siblings gathered round sobbing, Mum was off driving to a nearby town to collect essentials so that Nan could stay at home and not have to go into care. You can't fail to be impressed by these levels of practicality!!! 
She is also tough in other ways, and I realise these points may be a bit controversial but I will try to explain. My Mum struggles to comprehend certain illnesses, like if she denies they exist then they can never happen to her. In a way I realise this sounds impossible and ridiculous, however, I know and have always known that if I ever went to my Mum and said something like "Mum I have become an alcoholic", she wouldn't buy it because it isn't a thing in her head. She would lock me in my room for as long as it took for me to not be addicted anymore. And although there are probably human rights issues in that area, I can't disagree that sometimes tough love is the only answer. That is a very crude example and of course I am not suggesting that alcohol addiction is not a real problem (after all, I do work at probation!) but it is the best example I can come up with. But in Mum's head, that is how it is and if she doesn't buy into it then it is easy to fix! 
Another quality that I think I have of hers is trying to please people. I always try to do what I think other people need of me and I like that. I know that in some ways I can be a bit selfish (hey, who isn't?) but in this way I really take after my Mum and when deciding on something I always try to factor all parties into the mix. Sometimes Mum chastises me for this and says that I am getting used or people are walking all over me but she is exactly the same!
Anyway, enough drivel and I need some sleep now - sorry if this is a bit of an incoherent entry! Here are some of my favourite ever PostSecrets about Mums.

Yeah it is!
This used to be true - Still respect her but don't talk shit about her anymore

What are your Mum's best qualities that you would like to inherit?

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Last week

I can only apologise for being such a rubbish blogger last week and not posting at all. With my new job starting officially on Weds I have a lot to do at my old position and work a lot of hours last week. Added to that Dave not being very well I have just been manically busy. Started the mad week last Sunday at the Joan Baez gig I mentioned. Bridgewater Hall was a breathtaking location and she played a fabulous set. She even sang a Cohen song so of course I was over the moon.

Joan and her guitar

Then I have spent my working week doing a bit of training at Head Office for the new role, where they have taken to presenting you with a strange plastic toy to fiddle with whilst you learn. At first I thought the woman had gone mad but actually it is really fun to play with while you are working and it saved me biting my nails!

strange plastic toy, which I now want one of at home!
I have also spent quite a bit of time on ebay lately, both buying and selling and I had a bit of a lucky find this week when I was looking for something for Dave. I got some gorgeous DC high tops in TK Maxx after Christmas in a size 3, which is usually plenty big enough for me in trainers. They are really a thing of beauty in tartan with a leopard print tongue. But they were just so painful I couldn't get them on comfortably so they had sat in my lounge for the best part of 3 months as I could not let them go! Once I had found a replacement size 4 on ebay I felt safe to sell the other pair to my friend Louise. Unfortunately on Thursday we both wore them to work at the same time!

Beauties aren't they?
Anyway, I have just had a lovely weekend at the parentals so that has been nice and relxing after my hectic week. Mum had a lovely birthday made much better by the fact that not only did I buy her a soppy card for once (I usually go for the nice photo or funny caption) but Dad went wild and sent her a huge bouquet on the Saturday morning!

I have been back on hipstamatic this week too, the quality is a lot better than instagram but it just isnt as user friendly - what do you guys think?

Then we went to the greyhound racing in Birmingham, where we did absolutely appallingly!!! Had a super time though.

the traps at the start of a race
And as usual when we go to my parents my Dad had a spare room full of his ebay empire and postage bits and bobs. I wont go into detail but there is an abundance of watches in his life right now so dave and me got to take one home each.

Have anyone else's parents got any bonkers quirks like my Dad's watches? Has anyone had a busy week like me? Fingers crossed things will calm down a bit this week, though I am not so sure!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

I love to speak with Leonard

First of all I have scheduled this post to be published while I am at a gig in Manchester seeing one of my all-time folk heroes, Joan Baez. I realise folk music probably doesn't appeal to everyone and it can be a bit of an acquired taste, but growing up listening to my Dad's Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen music, and spending hours in my friend's parents' car listening to Joan herself and learning all the words have left me with a love of vocal guitar-y type stuff. So  I will do a review of the gig itself one night at a later date but for now I would like to talk about Leonard Cohen and his new album as I am a huge fan. I got into Cohen a lot later than all the other more "upbeat" stuff to be honest, but I love it more now than ever and I listen to a little bit of Cohen probably every single day (is that strange?). I don't  think it is as depressing as the critics say and I often find it uplifting, particularly when he duets with a female singer. Cohen himself once said that people call him a pessimist but this is wrong because "I don't consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin." I really like this. In 2008 I was lucky enough not only to see him in concert twice in some amazing settings, but also to meet him in a car park in Bournemouth and have a chat and a photo - Best. Moment. Ever.

I stalked him for a little bit afterwards and got this shot of him looking out to sea

Me, LC and Dave (usually when I show this photo, I chop Dave's mad arm off!)

So that was that, I never thought I would get to see him in concert as he is 77 years old or something and hadn't toured in ages so to meet him as well was a double shock. I suppose we have his manager to thank for that after they made off with all of his earnings whilst he was living in a Buddhist monastery in California a few years ago. I also never thought he would bring out any new material at this late stage but yet again I was thankfully proved wrong when he released his album "Old Ideas" a few weeks ago. Since I bought the album I literally cannot stop listening to it. For me this is a great opportunity because in the past I only listened to his songs in "Greatest Hits" type compilations, having missed most of his album releases by, oh I don't know, my whole life! It is nice having an album and listening to it in the way the artist intended. There is one song on it called "Going Home" with which I have become utterly obsessed and I wanted to share it with you here. 

Hope you all enjoy watching. Are there any other Cohen fans out there? What do you think of "Old Ideas"?

Friday, 2 March 2012

A very memorable mixtape

This is an article I wrote for this months requests on Lomography - thought it might make you all laugh!
I have never been one to shy away from telling the world embarrassing things I have done because, well those things are what make me who I am. And I like to make people laugh. This makes me simultaneously laugh and blush every time I think about it. When I was 16 I made a mixtape for a boy and the front cover looked something like this:-
There is no great story behind it, just the usual really – girl meets boy, girl falls madly in love with boy, boy likes girl’s friend for ages, girl is sad, boy eventually changes his mind (outwardly, though I suspect not inwardly), girl is happy, girl and boy start a relationship (a first for the both of them) which lasts a year, boy then changes his mind back to the aforementioned friend on and off and ends up dumping girl not once, not twice but THREE TIMES! After the third dumping girl makes the above tape and gives it to boy in a last ditch attempt to win over boy. Attempt fails. Track listing from the tape continues to make girl laugh for the rest of her days! I am that girl and here is that track listing.
1. Cheaptrick – The Flame
Not particularly a special song for the couple but if anyone knew the lyrics then they would totally get this.
2. Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi
Somehow I managed to use this political environmental protest song as a soppy love story simply because of the line “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”.
3. LeAnn Rimes – How do I live without you?
This one does seem fairly self-explanatory.
4. Lonestar – Amazed
This is not really a song about splitting up, but it was “our song” from our first date, right up to the end. I couldn’t listen to it again until I was about 22 – fact.
5. Elaine Page – I Know Him So Well
Perhaps most embarrassingly I whacked this classic show tune from the musical “Chess” onto the tape. We had never seen this, I just liked the song and listened to it a lot post break-up.
6. Dido – Thank You
I put this on because I wanted to thank him for the best time of my life. I was wrong about this however as my life has just got better and better ever since.
7. Dire Straits – Romeo and Juliet
This song is not really about splitting up but it does feature the lyrics “I can’t do anything except be in love with you” and “all I do is miss you and the way we used to be”. Plus I am a huge DS fan.
8. Janet Jackson – Got ‘til It’s Gone
Referring back to track 2, this is perhaps the most hilarious song on the tape. It samples the line “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone” which Janet sings, and then a male rapper raps the line “Joni Mitchell never lies”! I remember choosing this and track 2 to remind him that he might have lost more than he realises!! Haha!
9. Gabrielle – Out of Reach
I had been watching a lot of Bridget Jones Diary around this time and I felt like this song summed up how I felt perfectly!!
10. On My Own
Again another show tune from a musical I have never seen – Les Miserables. I chose this for the line “in the darkness, I feel his arms around me”.
And that is all the embarrassment I can share because I unfortunately no longer have the tape. I compiled these tracks using a combination of reading my journal from the time, my own embarrassing memory and texting my friends who advised me not to give him the tape in the first place! Perhaps the worst part of this whole situation is that I couldn’t get even 10 tracks from the tape, so the other night I decided to Facebook message said boy and ask him if he remembered it! He did, and he remembered tracks 6 and 7 which I had forgotten. Maybe he still listens to the tape, and when he hears the lines “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”, his eyes glaze over and he realises you really don’t. Just maybe.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Liebster Award.

So I was absolutely thrilled to bits to get home from collecting my shiny new bike yesterday evening (more on that in a later post) to find that I had been awarded the Liebster Award over at The Pampered Sparrow. This was a huge honour as that is one of my favourite blogs to read - particularly the "words on Wednesday" posts where the most inspiring quotes are written. The idea of the Liebster Award is that if you are nominated - you pass it on to 5 bloggers who are up-and-coming (i.e. have less than 200 followers). I have selected my 5 below, although I couldn't see on a couple how many followers they had so I may have stretched the criteria slightly! Here you are:-

Emsipop - Leaves lovely comments everywhere, making people smile.
Inspired by the retired - Has some super photos (see Liverpool post)
Diary of this girl - One of the cheeriest people I "know" - just her photo cheers me up!
Rach Electric - does the best beauty reviews.
Science Geek Chic - Got to love a blog where science is listed as a "love"!

So please head on over and give some love to some of my favourite bloggers. And thanks again for making my day with this, my second ever blog award! Anyone else had anything brilliant happen to make their day?

Monday, 27 February 2012

A fab week in Instagram

I think it is fair to say I have probably had the best week ever over the last 7 days and although I haven't blogged much, trust me when I say I have been in a super good mood throughout. I have put together some Instagram snaps taken by me, Dave and Louise to share with you about my week. I have seen posts like this on other blogs and they really appeal to me as a fairly nosey reader - hope you all feel the same way.

My week started waking up in Bradford last sunday to the sunniest day of the year so far. We went and took some photos in the newly done up Centenary Square before sitting outside and enjoying a big hot chocolate. Then I went with my housemates to The Manor bar in Chapel Allerton where Rich works and drank A LOT - my first round involved a Jaegerbomb and a cocktail!!! Then I saw on Monday that Dan was road planning our trip to Bulgaria - all very exciting. Then after getting my job, Louise took us all out to La Cafetiere for some middle eastern food and a laugh to celebrate. On Friday I took Clive round to my friend Adam's to get his sleeve tattoo. Saturday Dave had a rare day off so we drove to Skipton which used to always be our go-to date spot. I took both Dianas as I have been having a lot of problems with them lately. Lucky for us the market was on so we went to an olive stand and got ourselves a right feast. We also visited Dave's favourite shop where he bought some accessories for his mini 110 SLR - lucky for me it came as a package with another Pentax SLR so I am having it! For tea we went to a buffet at Aagrah and it was beautiful - plus very fresh as we were the first there before it got busy. Even the toilets were gorgeous and full of flowers. Unfortuately on the way back from Skipton we had a flat tyre so had to make a detour to the garage to fix it - this is a shot of Dave telling me off for taking a photo of him, instead of holidng the light so he could actually see, oh dear.
I also had a rather naughty week for clothes shopping and took advantage of the sale at ASOS and the 25% student discount at Dorothy Perkins. I am trying to justify this by thinking that I am in the process of having a huge clothes clearout! Here is what i got.

Has anyone else done anything exciting this week? Or bought anything exiting for that matter?

Friday, 24 February 2012

Great news and a giveaway!

So I am in a fantastic mood this weekend as I was successful and I got my new job!!!!! This means I get a small promotion and much more varied experience which is what I was after. I must first tell you about the horror of the interview however as I came out of it on Wednesday nearly in tears. The interview part went ok (even though it was with a panel of 3 managers who I already work with) and I was feeling good about my efforts but then I had to do a 3 part assessment centre. One part was doing minutes and although I have never done this before, my manager had given me some guidance and I felt prepared. Problem was, these minutes weren't like any we had practiced and I was instantly panicked by this. Coupled with the fact that the tape machine looked like it was from 1958 and I had a number of disasters. Firstly I wasted ten minutes trying to catch the man's name at the start of the tape as I thought that would be a crucial element and they just mumbled through it. Then, I accidentally kicked what I thought was a footrest but was in fact a foot operating pedal for the tape machine. It went beserk, rewound past the beginning to a -1.4 (whatever that meant!) and then spat out and refused to go back in again. I battled with this for a further 10 minutes - effectively wasting 20 minutes of the 55 I had been given. When the HR woman came in to tell me my time was up I hadn't even reached the end of the cassette. I was gutted. So imagine my surprise when they called me later that afternoon to inform me that I had been successful! I am over the moon and haven't stopped smiling since. I feel really lucky as I pretty much decided that I wanted to make probation my career at the age of 21 and a lot of people, for whatever reasons don't have that. I don't have a start date yet as it is all up in the air with regards to replacements and things because with all the public sector spending cuts we can't afford to get new staff and are constantly forced to shuffle the ones we have. The post I have been successful in getting is part time PA to the Director of Operations (and covering as PA to Head of Leeds Probation when required). This does however mean I have to be given a part time job to run alongside it so that is being sorted at the moment. It is all very exciting stuff. I will write a bit more about what I actually when I find out more.

And because I am in such a happy place right now I have decided to bring forward my 50 follower giveaway. I was going to announce then when I reached 50 followers (well, if I reached them) but I am close to it now and have already bought 3 items to include as you can see below.

Silver swallow necklace from Asda, Stila shine lip colour in Tina and Rimmel eyeshadow in Royal Blue 

Anyway - all you need to do to enter the giveaway is comment below here and provide an email address where I can contact you if you win. I will close the competition when I hit the 50 followers mark (which at my current rate should be about a week or so) irrespective of how many entries I have had. New followers are also very welcome, as are international readers.
I know to a lot of people 50 followers is nothing but I feel really proud that 50 (nearly) whole people want to read what I write and although I do it for no-one but myself in essence, I like getting comments and starting to chat to new people. I also want to celebrate every milestone like this in my blog because I was rubbish in 2011 and I vowed I would be more consistent in 2012. So far so good I think. . . . 

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Stylish in Stila

I feel like all I do lately is buy cosmetics and then write little reviews on them - sorry if that is a bit boring to some folks but as make-up reviews are among my favourite things to read, I feel like I ought to put a few out there of my own. During my ebay splurges of late, I got a few Stila lip items which were all under £2 and BNIB so I was chuffed with the prices for a start. They were al from different sellers but I have discovered that Stila items, even when brand new, don't tend to get to very high prices on ebay, despite being about $22 a piece on the Stila website. First of all here are the 3 items I got, still all boxed up:-

It gloss, shine lip colour and regular lip colour
I love the packaging as it is so simple but looks so stylish, it reminds me of the clean look of the topshop items. The boxes also feel really thick and luxurious, making me feel like I got a real bargain having paid under £7 for all 3 items including delivery! Then there is how gorgeous these items look on the inner packaging. The lip colour is my favourite as it is wrapped in a burgundy leather type material and feels incredibly well made, as they all do.

picture of all the items out of the boxes. Sorry it is so shadowy in my room

some swatches on my hand of the gloss, lip colour and then shine lip colour
Firstly the it-gloss, despite looking like Barbie pink in the tube which worried me slightly is a light pink and looks great on. It has awesome staying power and feels glossy rather than sticky which I like. It goes on with a little brush as well so is good for my top lip which is quite thin at the edges. The shade is called "enticing". Then the lip colour which looks absolutely rubbish on the swatch there. It is called "dawn 1" and it is sort of a nude shimmer rather than a super pigmented colour so I really like it and think it will be great in the summer. The shine lip colour is still really glossy which I love and is a red/brown - the shade is called "tina" and this is my new favourite night out lippie as it really compliments the green eye shadows that I seem to favour.
Does anyone else wear Stila products? What are your favourite pieces?

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Things what I don't understand about blogs / the internet

So this was supposed to be a kind of celebratory 1 year bloggiversary type post (not sure I have spelled that right, then again I am not sure that it is even a real word) but I decided instead to use this entry to demonstrate my total uselessness when it comes to blogspot and the world wide web on the whole. I have divided the post into a series of numbered questions (be warned there may be quite a few) so if anyone feels that they can answer just one of them for me, then that'd be a great help.

1. WTF is the point of tumblr?
This is one I have been thinking about quite a bit lately. I used to think it was a photo sharing blog type site for people who are too lazy to write words. Then I read some of my friend Tony's tumblr posts and they are amazing, super well written and cover a huge variety of subjects. Obviously it helps that he is a great writer but I have found a few since then that read like blogs. I made a tumblr last week when I was off work ill and I would describe mine as a place where I write very little, but share A LOT of random shite. What do you guys use yours for?

2. How do I use bloglovin?
This seems like something I should know, but I really don't understand it. I get the whole blogspot/google friend connect relationship. You follow blogs, they update in your reading list or on your sidebar or whatever but then I see this bloglovin thing. I don't know why anyone needs it or how I ought to use it on my blog. I follow a few people through it, but only usually because I have accidentally clicked on "follow through bloglovin" rather than the regular "follow" link. Do you use bloglovin? Why / why not?

3. How do people make cute little photo montages for their blog?
I personally use fotoflexer as it seems to be the easiest way since I don't have photoshop. As someone who takes a lot of photos I would really like a more efficient way of making little compilations. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of fotoflexer (if you haven't used it before, give it a shot now) and as a free tool it is bloody brilliant, but sometimes it doesn't do quite what I want and it sticks and things don't load very fast. I have also recently got into Polyvore, to make collages of things but obviously that is no good for photos you have taken yourself. What do you use for photo tasks for your blog?

4. What does RSS stand for?
I am guessing I will never need to officially know this as I have nothing very technical going on but in my head I have made up that it stands for "Really Simple Script" which I am sure is wrong (I realise now I could just google it but it'd be nicer to get feedback from you folk). Also - why would anyone need it? It just makes stuff look a bit shit.

5. How do I get little buttons to fit in my sidebars?
When I started my blog I spent a long time over at Shabby Blogs choosing just how I wanted it to look and getting it all to fit together in a way that I knew I would be happy with for a long time. I am not a naturally arty or internet-y person so I knew I wouldn't want to do a lot to my blog and over the last year I haven't really wanted to alter anything. I am happy with how it looks and feel it is easy to navigate. There are however a number of tweeks I would like to make that I find insurmountable at the moment. When I want to add little things (such as a little photo and a button from somewhere) I cannot make them fit and they overspill the lines around the body of my text. This is annoying and I cannot fix it so I have given up on having those additions. Also - my follow me links are all there, in a little line but I can't get cute symbols for them. How can I do this?

6. What is all this "prove you are not a robot" shite?
Why is it when I comment on some blogs I get to just type and publish, but on others I have to type in a ridiculous word/phrase (no kidding I had to type "pie face" earlier this week) before my comment will publish? Is there an option for this and does my blog have it? Also, given how sophisticated some "robots" and comp programmes actually are, why can't people just make one that can pass them tests anyway?

7. Why would anyone need tweetdeck or tweetbot?
I am not 100% sure what these tools do and to me they are just mad words with "tweet" stuck at the beginning but I don't see why people would need them. I understand tweetbot helps you do things on twitter a bit faster right? Well if you tweet so much that broadband and your own fingers aren't quick enough then I think you have some social issues and probably need to talk to some people who don't have the word "bot" in their name. I mean no offence by this or anything but sometimes I do worry that the internet may have destroyed the art of real conversation. Does anyone use these tools and can you convince me otherwise?

Ummmm so I think that covers all of the things I have been thinking about of late. Other than that I was wondering about maybe altering the design of my blog, but the fact of the matter remains I really like it how it is - what do you guys think?

Friday, 17 February 2012

Obligatory Valentine Summary

I realise you are all probably a bit sick of Valentines posts now, all gushing and full of hearts and flowers. But it wouldn't be right for me to let it go by without even a mention would it? Especially not since Dave has managed to surpass all my expectations this year for the first time ever!!! We were down at my parents for the day itself, but we opened our pressies on the spare bed and I think Dave was really chuffed with his 2 little books about Bulgaria I got him. I think he thinks he is almost fluent having used the phrase book for the last 2 days! I also got him a box by Bright Side which says on it "keepy letters and cards and things". He has old kinds and other mementos all over the house so I thought it would be nice if he had a proper place to keep them all together. I also got him a card from Lazy Oaf saying "it's this or internet dating" because we usually get each other a silly and/or insulting card. I was therefore a little shocked that he got me this cute one with a fondant fancy on it! He didn't even write anything daft in it either. 

Then, onto my gift because this is where Dave has outdone himself. Usually he buys me something I didn't really want, and a mug. Or just a mug even though I do not really drink hot drinks ever. This year he had read this little blog and found my January desires post that I did on Polyvore and got me a Tatty Devine necklace!!! When I opened the bag and saw the box I was absolutely thrilled. And he got me some cute little gold bird dangly earrings to go with it!! I felt genuinely touched as Dave is not really the thoughtful kind usually. 

So yeah I was really over the moon with that. Then after a morning of pampering my aunt Sue came round with a fab new nail varnish she had bought me. I hadn't even seen these before so I was super chuffed with how good it is. It is a Boots Magnetized Nail Polish in a silver colour. As you can see from my thumb it has this sort of cool wavy pattern on it.

You basically paint your nail as normal and then hover over the nail with the magnet that is built into the lid and these wave patterns just appear! It is like one of those mermaid dolls where you dunk it in the water and a pattern appears on the tail. Then we spent Valentines night shivering at the Ricoh arena watching Coventry City beat Leeds United.

As you can see from above this is my Instagram of the outside of the arena and even better - the second photo is of the winning goal - if you look closely you can see the ball going over the line!!! I am getting really into the football since Pip's boyfriend moved in. I am now simultaneously supporting Coventry and Brighton & Hove Albion as that is Rich's side. Before we left my parents we went for a curry at our favourite indian restaurant, Akbars, which was really nice as they still had all their Valentines decorations up.

Another great surprise over the few days that I was in Coventry was that I got a job interview for a small promotion where I work. It is actually an interview and an assessment  which I am a bit nervous about as I hadn't expected it but I am excited at the prospect of a new job all the same. The interview is next wednesday so I will let you know how it goes. If anyone has any tips for me then that would be greatly appreciated. I also got a present today off a lady at work who runs one of our evening programmes who I barely even know. I had been looking for a thick silver belcher chain for ages when I saw her wearing one a while ago. I asked her where she had got it from and she told me she had 2 and I could have the other. I had sort of forgotten about it as I don't see her that often and she hadn't mentioned it again til today when she presented me with it - isn't it a beauty?

And how kind is that? She wouldn't accept any payment for it so I have asked some of her friends to tell me what I could buy her as a thank you for it - I am so chuffed. A nice free gift always feels better than something you have bought, especially when it is as unexpected as this - don't you think?

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Topshop make-up haul

I seem to be doing a fair few reviews lately and can only really attribute that to the fact that the more blogs I read, the more stuff I want to buy and the more I buy then the more I want to appreciate my new items. Writing a review of things I think is a really great way to do that so I am going to try to do a review of all the nice new things I get as I get them. I read a few reviews of the Topshop make-up range over the last couple of weeks and decided I wanted to pick up a few pieces, especially the liquid eyeliner as I am not very good with it normally and someone commented how easily it goes on. I am also a fan of the very simple and clean design of the packaging and although not a reason in itself, it was a swing towards this make-up. I had a bit of money in my paypal so I had a little peruse of ebay to see if anyone was selling any pieces, particularly a liquid eyeliner, and I came across this package for the bargain price of £15:-

Liquid liner, nail varnish, mascara, eyeshadow and crayon
As all these items were brand new and sealed, it seemed like such a great bargain for £15 that I couldn't possibly pass it up. And here are some fairly poor swatches that I did at work of all places!

eyeshadow, crayon, liner and mascara
And a slightly blurry photo of one nail painted
Firstly I have to say that the review I read was correct and the liquid liner is super easy to apply. I haven't worn it yet as I would only have it on for a night out and I haven't had or got one planned for ages and ages! The colour is called "rook" which is black basically and I think I am in love with it. I am also pleasantly surprised with all the other colours too as the ad was a bit vague about what shades I would get. The nail varnish is a lovely dark grey and I love it - it is called "utilitarian" (which incidentally is also one of my favourite principles of ethics!). The eyeshadow is called "dirty martini" and this is a glimmer dark grey with just a hint of green so right up my street. The mascara is called "bitter choc" and is a really lovely choclate brown colour. Unfortunately as my eyelashes are so so black this is kind of wasted on me and just looks like any other black mascara from my collection, but again the quality is great. Then onto the only item I am not entirely sure about which is the crayon, this again is a brown colour in the shade "tarnish". This is a nice brown with a shine to it but I think my main problem is, what does one use such a crayon for? It says on the web it is for shading, lining and defining. The thing is, it is sort of too fat to be a liner (in my opinion) and it doesn't blend too well to be a shade as such so I am unsure really what to do with it - any bloggers got any tips for me?

another look at all 5 products, with shades displayed
Also I have been getting really into make-up lately and experimenting a lot more, which I guess is a good thing but not so good for my bank balance (an unfortunate side effect of reading lots of lovely blogs I think) and was wondering if anyone knows if any of the monthly beauty boxes such as Glossybox or Feel Unique contain only make-up items? I would love to sign up to such a box you see, but I have fairly sensitive skin and fussy hair so most of the items would not be appropriate and I would prefer one where you just got make-up items. If such a thing exists please can someone point me in the right direction? Thanks a lot.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Lomography Update

 Been meaning to do this post for over a week as I had four rolls of film developed that I wanted to share with you. They weren't particularly special ones but I hadn't had any developed for ages and was a bit scared I was losing interest in Lomo to be honest. However, I have done a couple of articles this week and got a few photo project type things coming up so I think I am right back on with it now. Anyway, as I said these are not the most amazing photos ever but there are a few from my Zenit E which I hadn't used for ages as I thought I was doing it wrong. Turns out I wasn't and these are 2 shots from a tiny roll that came out ok with it.

View from my front doorstep in some very very bright sunshine
Trying to practice focussing close up with the Zenit-E
Then there was the second roll on my La Sardina Quadrat. I have since sold this on ebay as I felt the flash was a bit too fiddly and temperamental. I have now purchased a flashless model and am excited to get using it after seeing these 2 shots from the old model, both longer exposures on bulb mode, the first in dim pub light of about 2.5 seconds and the second on the dashboard of a moving car (I wasn't driving at the time) for about 8-9 seconds when I accidentally let go.

Love this shot of an old battered sofa in a Bradford pub

And I love the electric feel of this shot, even if it is a bit wibbly

Then I got 2 rolls developed from my precious LC-A+ White Japan ed. which covered the 2 Lomography events I have attended recently. The shots weren't particularly life-changing but then I am not a photographer and only really shoot for fun. They are more memories of these days for me rather than works of art. Here they are:-

picture of my friend "Fed Tony" who will hopefully be giving me rangefinder lessons later this year

Picture of the nautical themed decor in the Birmingham Selfridges store

My friend Louise's ace Dr Marten's taken with the coloursplash flash - love the colours on this

Love the angle on this photo and how the view of the wheel is a bit obscured.
So anyway, here is my most recent Lomography update and I hope to have more photos to show you this week as I have some in the shop at the moment being developed.  I am excited to get them back actually as it contains one roll from my cosmic symbol which I haven't used before! What cameras do you guys shoot with and which are your favourites?