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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

Comme Chez Soi

We went to a restaurant called Comme Chez Soi on the last night in Budapest that really made our trip for us in terms of what we had experienced of the food service. Budapest is a beautiful city and I would recommend anyone go there but the one thing I would say is their service in restaurants could do with some work. It’s not that they aren’t polite or the food wasn’t good, it was. It’s how slow everything is. They come relatively fast to take your order but after that if you want something, you’re waiting a while and make sure you ask for your bill well in advance because that’s going to take a while.

Now when it comes to Comme Chez Soi, forget everything I’ve just said. Their service was absolutely impeccable. We arrived without a reservation and were very lucky to get a table. They accommodated us but told us that regretfully they would need the table in two hours for another reservation. We thought we’d be out in under an hour but we were there for the full two two hours. We saw 8 or 10 couples arrive after us to be told they had absolutely no tables left. So if you go here, I recommend you book in advance.

Caprese Appetiser

We ordered dinner, a glass of red wine and a glass of prosecco. We didn’t order a starter and I’m glad because soon after we ordered our meal a complimentary caprese appetizer arrived. Then when our drinks were almost gone, a complimentary glass of wine arrived for both us.

Comme Chez Soi

We both ordered a pasta dish with a cream sauce and mussels. It was delicious and there was plenty. If I had one tiny negative about the place, it would be that the mussels weren’t the best I’ve ever had but that being said, we’re kind of spoiled for sea food considering the country we live is is an island. We were pretty full so we ordered a chocolate orange mousse dessert to share but while we waited for it, they brought a complimentary dessert of sorbet and chocolates. They also brought us both a shot of limoncello. Then another two and another two! The waiter told us it was his mother’s homemade limoncello, which was a nice touch that added to the personal feel that Comme Chez Soi had.

Sorbet

All in all, the food was great, the service was excellent and I think we got more food for free than we paid for. If you are ever in Budapest, it is well worth a visit.

On a side note, the photos are so bad because I was enjoying myself so much, it wasn’t important enough to take good pics!!


Reading… The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes. I forgot how easy and fun her books are to read. I did not forget how funny she is. Her sense of humour is just brilliant.

Watching… Still hooked on Grey’s Anatomy. I’m almost at the end of season 9 now. What the hell am I going to do with my evenings when I catch up?

Listening to… TED Talks on my Podcast app while I drive. I’m learning all sorts of things in mostly 16-18 minute time slots.

Drinking… more water….finally!

Focussing on… getting back on track with my weight loss. I’ve been seriously slacking since December. Losing & gaining the same few pounds but I’m trying to be a bit more disciplined again.

Enjoying… some May sunshine in Ireland. Hopefully it lasts through the weekend!Although he hates the sun, my partner in crime, Chief, can’t help but sit out there with me when I’m reading.

Pinning… my own blog posts!

Considering… a trip to Bratislava in the summer.

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I’ve decided as part of my ‘Lists’ series, I’m going to share lists of My favourite things. I love TED Talks and now I have started listening to TED Talks Audio Podcasts while I drive to and from work. I decided to make a list of some of my favourites for anyone who is new to the world of TED Talks. If you’re already a TED Talks fan, maybe this post will remind you of some of your favourites or point out some who may not have seen.

I should start off by saying, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you should go to TED Talks for more information.

 

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:

I absolutely love this talk. Chimamanda is a great speaker and if I’m honest, I’d probably listen to her speaking about any topic. It is refreshing to hear an opinion of an African woman who considers herself a Feminist in a world where the world Feminism is still considered a dirty word. If you don’t feel entertained and empowered after listening to this one, then maybe my list is not for you!

Check out Chimamanda’s talk here.

 

Do Schools Kill Creativity by Ken Robinson:

I think I love this talk so much because I work in adult education and I have an interest in how the education system in this country (and plenty of others, I’m sure) impacts the type of people who are not do not learn in a conventional ‘school’ way. That being said, I think anyone who has children also usually finds the talk very interesting. I would definitely recommend a listen if you are a creative type who didn’t exactly excel in school.

Check out Ken’s talk here.

 

The Fringe Benefits of Failure by J.K. Rowling:

This talk is actually a Harvard Commencement Speech that has been shared by TED Talks. Rowling talks about the benefits of failure and how reaching rock bottom shaped the successful author she is today. It’s inspiring without falling into the theme of being an over used “rags to riches” story.

Check out JK’s speech here.

 

The Danger of a Single Story by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:

Another talk from Chimamanda. This 1 I saw for the first time on a development Education course I took a few years ago. In this talk, she discusses the negative effects of only having 1 single story of a country, culture or person. This talk resonated with me because I think we are all guilty of at some stage believing a single story about another person or culture.

Check out Chimamanda’s talk here.

 

How to Live Before You Die by Steve Jobs:

Another Commencement Speech that has been shared by TED Talks. This time, it is Steve Jobs at Stanford University in 2005. Steve’s speech is made up of 3 stories from his life that played a part in him becoming the hugely successful co-founder of Apple. The speech has a kind of sadness to it that it didn’t originally have previous to his death in 2011. I’m sure everyone at this stage has heard the story or has seen the “Steve Jobs dropped out of college and he did ok” memes which I think paints an idealistic view of his life. He didn’t always have it easy but he knew what he wanted.

Check out Steve’s speech here.

 

What I Learned From 100 Days of Rejection by Jia Jiang:

If you are looking for something a bit short and with a bit more humour, check out Jia’s talk on rejection. We tend to fear rejection as a natural reaction and by the sounds of it, Jia was the same until 1 day he decided to seek out rejection.

Check out Jia’s talk here.

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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. 

February was a pretty big month so I had 3 spreads. 

Feb 1 Feb 2

Spread 1:

The month started off with a weekend in Exeter visiting family  so that’s what spread one is about. It’s made up of black, white and a kind of turquoise.I used a turquoise Sharpie pen for the handwriting. 

Project Life Kit: Favorite Things (core kit)

Alpha Stickers: 

  • The black ones used for ‘February’, ‘Orla & Oscar’ and ‘cream tea’ are ‘Ali’ Thickers designed exclusively for Studio Calico.
  • The small light blue stickers used for ‘The Darwents’ are Ocean Melody by Webster’s Pages.

Embellishment Stickers: 

  • The black love-heart outline sticker is Amy Tangerine for Thickers. I think but I’m not 100% that is part of her Plus 1 range.
  • I’m unsure where the arrow sticker is from.

Pocket Pages: I used Design F for the left and Design G for the right.

 

Feb 3

Spread 2:

The left side of spread two is from a trip to London with my mam and brother for a match. The right side of this spread are a few random snapshots from the month. I almost always go for white but this kit has a cream base. It’s great for a change but I normally prefer the crispness of white.

Project Life Kit: Azure (core kit)

Alpha Stickers: 

  • The grey ones used for ‘LFC V MCFC’  are Project Life stickers.
  • The red ones used for ‘More of February’ are Sn@p Studios by Simple Stories.

Stamps: 

  • I’m unsure where the paw print stamps are from but they’re rubber stamps that are used with an acrylic block.
  • The ink is Dovecraft pigment ink pad in jet black. 

Pocket Pages: I used Design G for the left and Design R for the right.
Feb 5 Feb 6

Spread 3:

Spread three for February is a mixtures of snapshots from the month as well as a mixtures of kits.

Project Life Kit: The left page has a 6×4 card from the Confetti core kit with some words about documenting on it. it also includes a 6×4 grey and white striped card from the Midnight core kit.

The right page has a 6×4 polka dot card from the Midnight kit, a 6×4 lined card with a love-heart from the Plus 1 mini kit, a 3×4 quote card about cherishing the little things from Becky’s Quotes themed cards and a fold-able 6×4 card from the Seafoam kit with ‘date’ and ‘story’ on it. Instead of folding it, I cut it in half and used a corner cutter to round the new edges.

Alpha Stickers: The black stickers used for ‘Still February’ are ‘Hard Cover’ Thickers.

Stickers: The quote sticker on the striped 6×4 card is from K & Company.

Pocket Pages: I used Design R for the left and Design A for the right.

January 1January 2

After a crazy December and Christmas, January was thankfully a little quieter. so I only needed one spread for this month. Deciding to do monthly spreads last year was the best plan I could have had, it’s a lot more do-able and means I only need to work on my albums once a month instead of every week. I still hate my handwriting but I think I’ll be glad I included it in years to come because it’s a more personal touch. As usual my spread is mostly photograph based.

Project Life Kit: Dreamy (core kit)

Alpha Stickers: 

  • The grey ones used for ‘memories’ and ‘bath time’ are Project Life stickers.
  • I’m not sure what the multi-coloured ‘bed head’ stickers are. I have them a long time and there’s no label.
  • The bluey-green stickers are Jillibean Soup.

Embellishment: The wooden arrow embellishment is from the Project Life ‘Note to Self’ value kit.

Pocket Pages: I used Design A for the left and Design F for the right.

 

I take 99% of my Project Life photographs using my phone. I have an iPhone 6 Plus and have had an iPhone for my last three phones too. I’m an Apple fan when it comes to phones and part of the reason for that is because I think the camera is really good and it seems to improve with each new model. The other 1% of my photographs are taken using my Canon EOS 600D. I go through periods of using the camera more but I find organising, editing and printing from my phone easier so I tend to use that a lot more.

At any given time I have way too many photographs on my phone so it’s important for me to organise them weekly if I can. The iPhone displays photos in two different ways. The first is in albums and when you take a picture it automatically goes into your ‘Camera Roll’ album at the top. The second is just individual photos which are date stamped (Today, Yesterday, Monday, 22nd March etc.) and also location stamped.

Photos

Photo layout including date (‘Today’) stamp.

Albums

Album layout

 

I create an album for the current month (e.g. April Photos) and every week, I go back through the date stamps and add every photo from that week to the album for that month. At the end of the month, I separate the photos into three more albums (April Portraits, April Landscapes and April Square).

How do you take, organise and store your Project Life photos?

Check back in next week for information on choosing and editing my photos.

 

2016 Cover

So it’s April and I’m only just sharing my cover page for my 2016 Project Life album now. I know, must try harder. I try to mix it up when it comes to my cover pages but yellow has made an appearance on my cover page two years in a row because I love it. I rarely include pictures on this spread. I like to include the year and it’s the second year in a row I’ve added my One Little Word to the cover spread. 

Stay tuned for some posts on my Project Life method.

The 2nd Saturday MarketLin Design
Lin Design

I was in town on Saturday doing some book shopping with my Dad when he noticed a sign for a Saturday market. I’m a sucker for markets so we went around to have a look. The market is called The 2nd Saturday Market and as you may have guessed, it’s on the second Saturday of every month. We were lucky that that was the day we happened to be in the city. It’s in The Chocolate Factory on King’s Inns Street in Dublin and it’s worth a visit if you are in the area. There are lots of lovely handmade, homemade and vintage things to buy including food, jewellery & art. 

I bought the beautiful necklace pictured above from Lin Design. It’s made of concrete and I thought it was really unusual. They had all sorts of concrete designs from candle holders to jewellery and even Darth Vader molds. I love the necklace and can definitely see myself going back for more. I’m already kind of raging I didn’t buy a second necklace I was eyeing up and 1 of the tea-light holders.

You can check out some of the beautiful things Lin Design make and sell, on Facebook here. The prices were good and they’d make lovely gifts for others as well as yourself.