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A book you’ve had a long time and haven’t read:

The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes

The Woman Who Stole My Life
The Woman Who Stole My Life is about a woman called Stella Sweeney who is back in Dublin with a bang after a year living in New York and travelling the USA promoting her self-help book. There’s lots of twists and turns as the story looks back over Stella’s journey.

I must start off by admitting that some of the characters in this book are slightly unrealistic but that didn’t hinder how much I enjoyed it. I wanted to say that first and get it out of the way because it’s the only real negative I have for this book.

 I absolutely love the way Marian Keyes writes and I often find myself smiling or laughing out loud while I read (much to the annoyance of anyone nearby). I would be really interested to hear what people from other countries think of her writing because her sense of humour, in my opinion, is very Irish.

This book held my attention right to the end and as each chapter closed, I couldn’t wait to hear what would happen to Stella next. Keyes has a wonderful way of jumping from different stages of a story to keep the suspense alive. It’s not my favourite of her books but it still has that feel good factor and I would definitely recommend it as a fun, summer read. 

Rating: 7.5/10

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A book published this year:

City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

City of the Lost
I want to start off by saying if you have any interest at all in Supernatural fiction, you should really read Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series. There are 13 books in total and each one is written from the perspective of a different lead female supernatural character including werewolves, witches, ghosts, necromancers and more. This series was my introduction to this author and I loved them all. 

City of the Lost is the first book in a new crime fiction series by the author. It follows homicide detective, Casey Duncan, to live in a secret, off the grid, town where everyone has a secret. My absolute favourite thing about Armstrong’s writing is how she develops her characters. This novel was no exception and by the time you get to the end, you’ll feel like you know Casey Duncan. It’s a solid story-line with a great ‘who done it’ theme. 

As always, Armstrong delivers in giving you just enough information to keep you interested and wanting more. I still prefer her supernatural novels but would definitely recommend this read and will be looking out for the next instalment in the series.

Rating: 7/10

P.s. I know the topic is ‘published this year’ and it was technically published in 2016 but I actually read it in 2016 & never got around to reviewing it. 

OLW #2

One of the things I really struggle with is the work/life balance. It seems to either go completely one way or another. I can be a complete workaholic & spend my weekends working and late into the nights or else it’s the complete opposite and I’m living a little too much. Going out more than I should at the weekend and mentally not turning up for work as much as I could. I’m trying to find a happy medium on this one. I agree with the idea of ‘work to live, don’t live to work’ and fully believe nobody, on their death bed, wishes they’d worked more. However, I think that’s a bit too simplistic. The majority of us have to work in order to have a good life which makes both work & life very important. This quote really stood out to me because in order to fill our souls with adventure, we have to work to fill our pockets, therefore I think it’s important to work hard & enjoy what we do in order to have the adventures.This year I hope to find a healthy balance between the two.

I found this beautiful image on Pinterest and you can go to kaylanicole.me to find the poster designer.

As part of my new year’s resolution to read more this year, I’ve decided to challenge myself a little. I love reading and get really engrossed in a good book. I plan to share reviews of the books I’m reading here. I’m teaming up with My Tiny Mind on this one so pop over there to check out reviews too. I’m not the fastest reader going so we’ve set ourselves 2 years to read 20 books. I’d love for other people to get involved. If you’re thinking of taking part, let me know in the comments and keep me posted on your progress or where you might be sharing it. You chose the books based on the list below and you can take them on in any order.

 Anyone up for a challenge?

The Big Book Challenge list

Stronger

Image made using the ‘A Beautiful Mess’ app & the ‘Color Story’ app.

I’m taking part in Ali Edwards ‘One Little Word’ again this year. I tried it last year for the first time and found it really interesting. I was surprised how much I took hold of the word and although I didn’t achieve everything I thought I would with it, I’m happy with the changes I’ve made and I plan to keep hold of that it while I take on this year’s word.

Last year’s word was ‘Stronger’ and I hoped to become stronger in lots of different ways. The most important thing I hoped to gain from ‘One Little Word’ was to become stronger mentally and comfortable staying in the house overnight on my own. It took some time but I finally got there and now I actually enjoy having the house to myself. This was a HUGE accomplishment for me. The second thing I wanted was to become physically stronger, fitter and healthier.  I have a long, long way to go on that but I’ve made some progress. I try to go swimming regularly and I still love chocolate and McDonalds when I’m hungover and drink waaaaay too much diet coke but I’m marginally better than I was.I’ve definitely become stronger as an individual person and I enjoy my own company more and I like the idea of being single and not worried about anyone else. I’d like to think I’m doing okay as a friend and I’m there for my friends as much as I can when they need me. I need to work more on the family bit, I could probably have more patience in that area. I suppose the people closet to us can end up on the wrong end of our bad moods. I think I’m definitely more positive than I was but I think that’s down to being happier in my life and doing more things that I enjoy.

I definitely didn’t build a stronger blog and kind of flaked on it completely. I also didn’t become better at my job.  These things needing more work have helped me to choose this year’s word. Stay tuned to find out what 2016’s word will be.  You can check out my post on 2015’s word here.

Have you tried ‘One Little Word’? How did your 2015 word go?

Step 1

Step 1: Lay all of the items out exactly as you want them to look on a surface roughly the same size as the wall.

Step 2

Step 2: cover each item with a piece of paper of the same size

Step 3

Step 3: Add the pieces of paper to the wall based on where you want your frames etc, to go. Add your nail marks with a pen, Add your nails and…

Final step

There you have it….your new gallery wall.

I’ve wanted a gallery wall for so long but kept putting it off in case it went terribly wrong and looked ridiculous. you can’t undo holes in a wall you know?! I’ve been gathering frames and pictures and things for the last while so I decided to bite the bullet and get it done. I actually really enjoyed the process. It was really fun. I wouldn’t have known where to start without one of my favorite blogs – A Beautiful Mess. They wrote a blog post a couple of years ago about styling a corner gallery and I followed their lead. You can check their post out here

If you follow those steps, or even just base it on my photos above, it’s a pretty easy thing to do and it has completely brightened up my bedroom to have all of my favourite people (and pets) on my wall.

cork board 2 cork board 1

Whose idea was it to start Create 52 right before silly season? Obviously I was ridiculously busy in the lead up to Christmas like everyone else and I’m back in work now & have things on 4 weekends out of 5 this month so I’m waaaay behind. There goes New Year’s Resolution number 1 – be better at organising blog posts and Project Life in advance. Must try harder.

So I’m kind of back on track with Create 52 as of week 2 of January and I’ve started off with something simple. I’d love to say I bought a blank pin board & went from there but that would be a complete lie. I bought the board, from Forever 21, with the black map already printed on it. I bought it last September so I’m not sure if it’s still available but I’ve seen some other options online. I’d also love to see some creative people adding their own maps to pin boards. I just picked up some pins (I couldn’t find a size I wanted so I had to buy dress making pins and cut them). I added a white pin to where I live (Ireland) and red pins to all of the places I’ve been up until now. I’m toying with the idea of adding another colour to places I plan to go but I’m not sure yet.

Finally I chose a quote I like that was short and simple and added it to the board using Amy Tangerine Thickers.


  

Adding nail varnish to water Adding white card on top of nail varnish removing card from nail varnish Finished prducted Using my cards for Project Life

Saying I was going to post my weekly Create 52 projects on Sunday was a ridiculous idea. Sometimes I won’t get a free bit of time to make things until Sunday and then it puts pressure on me to edit the pictures and write the post the same day. So I’ve decided it’s more realistic to post them the following Wednesday. Let’s see how this goes.

Last week I had a lot on so I didn’t get around to any crafting until Sunday. I’ve wanted to try this marbling effect on paper for ages so I decided to try it on 6×4 and 3×4 white card so I can use them in my Project Life album. I really wanted to use Christmas colours like red and gold but unfortunately I didn’t have those colours. I’ll definitely pick up some cheap red and gold nail varnishes soon and try it again.

All you need is:

  • A container (preferably a disposable one because it may get some nail varnish on it)
  • Water
  • Nail varnish (whatever colours you like but glitter in a clear varnish doesn’t really work too well)
  • Card (or what ever you want to add the marble effect to)
  • A wooden skewer or something to mix your nail varnish
  • A tweezers

It’s a really simple process:

  1. Add the water to the container until its 3/4 full.
  2. have your card ready as the nail varnish sets quickly.
  3. pour a couple of small drops of nail varnish onto the water. It should sit on the water rather than sinking (if it sinks, you may have added too much).
  4. Swirl the nail varnish around with the skewer immediately to mix colours or change the design.
  5. Using the tweezers, gently place the card onto the nail varnish, which should be sitting on the water.
  6. Leave it for a few seconds.
  7. Again. using your tweezers, lift the card from the container and leave it somewhere to dry. It should be dry and ready to use within a few minutes.

I hope you try this technique. It’s quick, easy and fun. Next I’m going to try marbling a plate to use as a ring plate and I’m also hoping to make some marbled Christmas cards to use in my Project Life album.

Have you tried this marbling technique before?

Gift bag

gift bag contents

My friends and I do Kris Kindle every year. We try to arrange a night in or out where we have some food, some drinks and swap presents. Last year I hosted a little pre-night out gathering and thought it would be a fun idea to make little gift bags for each of my friends. 

 

I bought plain black gift bags and made simple labels with each of my friends names and the year on them. The bag included some chocolate, a face mask, a set of false eyelashes, a mini notebook, a Yankee wax tart , a lollipop and a hangover kit I put together.

 

Do you have any fun ideas for gift bags?

1

I’m excited to share my first project from my new Create 52 project. I bought this plain canvas really cheap in a chain shop (Euro Giant) and used a gold sharpie for the quote.

The quote is from the song Swinging on a Star by Bing Crosby. My grandad sang this song constantly and you would often hear him saying “or would you rather be a fish?” to himself.

It’s up on my wall now & I will think of him every time I see it.