Album of the Week 012 ~ Harry Styles by Harry Styles

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Album: Harry Styles by Harry Styles

Release Date: May 2017

My Favourite Tracks: Sign of the Times, Carolina, Two Ghosts

Album Notes: I love this album.

I can’t deny that I’m a bit of a One Direction fan. Not to the point where I’d go to a concert, but I can sing along with a fair few of their songs, and I think they make decent pop music. But I figured that when they all went their separate ways to make new music, they’d make the kind of stuff that is all over the charts, most of which I can’t stand (think Clean Bandit, Stormzy, Shawn Mendes, Bruno Mars et al).

I didn’t really account for the fact that there’s also quite a few male vocalists making music that I do actually quite like, and so maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised at the direction that young Mr Styles took. Anyway, I just really like what he’s done. Even as someone who doesn’t know a lot about music, even I can hear the influences at play here – Bowie, Queen, and lots of 70s classic rock. Whether they are genuinely his influences, or there’s a bigger picture and that’s just the sound that the record label decided to go for, is irrelevant to me. It’s just a good album that I’ve been listening to loads, and will continue to do so!

Book Blog Tour ~ Spandex and the City by Jenny T Colgan

Holly9780356505442 (1) Phillips is a mild-mannered publicist, perpetually unlucky in love. When the handsome stranger who flings her over his shoulder turns out to be ‘Ultimate Man’, a superpowered hero, Holly is thrust into the limelight, earning her fifteen minutes of fame, and putting her into the path of the city’s most famous villain.

There’s no denying that the inclusion of a superhero as a romantic interest for this modern fiction novel errs a little bit on the silly side. As soon as you know that you are dealing with a superhero in a purple spandex suit, you know what to expect really.

And this book delivers on that, but manages to go a little bit further, and ends up not being the typical romance novel that you first imagine it will be. Holly is a relatable heroine; interesting and modern, but with enough flaws that you can recognise yourself (or yourself in your late twenties) in her. She isn’t entirely sure where she is going at the beginning of the novel, but as things start to take a turn, she discovers more about who she is and what she wants.

Positing this as a superhero story is possibly taking it too far, as ultimately it is a story about a boy and a girl, but there are enough twists and turns to make it an enjoyable one. Most importantly, it doesn’t take itself too seriously, allowing you to grab on and go along for the ride!

Spandex and the City by Jenny T. Colgan
First published: May 2016
ISBN: 9780356505442
Orbit Books
Provided by publisher

Midweek Mundane

This was a thing for a while; at least amongst a couple of bloggers that I followed, so I thought I’d resurrect it. In case you’re wondering, it’s just a general description of a midweek day; nothing special or out of the ordinary, just a normal day at work. Although most of the extraordinary days start off as mundane, so who knows what’s going to happen!

The day of choice is today, 10th May 2017. A very typical day in the life of me and my job, though as we are one week away from leaving for one of our events, it was busier day than many others, with lots of loose ends to tie up, and a to-do list to work through.

My mornings are usually fairly stress-free, mainly because I don’t trouble myself with too much. I usually wake up fairly early, but lay in bed until I can’t push it any further. Today, I had to put tonight’s dinner in the slow cooker, so I had to give myself a little more time – in the shower by 7.45, dinner was cooking by 8.10, and we were out the door by 8.30, as always.

Breakfast at my desk is always cereal, and because I bought the biggest box of cornflakes about two weeks ago, it’s been cornflakes for a while. This led me straight into a morning of work; as I mentioned, it’s all stuff to do with the show, tying up loose ends. I decided to try something new this morning, as my friend Hannah had told me a little while ago about the idea of working solidly for 52 minutes and then taking a 17 minute break. I can’t take a 17 minute break in the middle of the morning, but I can try and work without distractions for 52 minutes, and then reward myself with a cup of tea or something similar. So that’s what I did, until halfway through I was pulled into a meeting. It worked quite well though!

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Lunch was boring, a couple of slices of raisin loaf and a yoghurt. I struggle so much with lunches; it’s not always feasible to have leftovers from last night’s dinner, and so I’m often left with a sandwich or something equally uninspiring. Tomorrow we have a group lunch, Fajita Thursday or Friday has been a thing for a while; we each take it in turns to bring in a different component of the fajitas, and it’s my favourite lunch of the week!

The afternoon was a little frantic; we had some website issues that needed to be sorted, and there were various emails that needed to be sent out. The best thing about the afternoon was the return of the ice cream man who has been missing for a few weeks!

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After work, and after a hastily eaten dinner (aren’t slow cookers amazing?) Hannah and I went into Colchester, back to our old university, to see a play. It was called Semblance of Madness!, and it was only about 45 minutes long, with a cast of three, but it was certainly interesting. A quick trip to Tesco, and back home, with one episode of Parks and Rec, and now I’m in bed writing this and listening to this week’s episode of The West Wing Weekly.

A thoroughly mundane Wednesday, with an interesting evening to perk things up!

 

Donate to Charity – Amazon Wishlists

If you’re interested in donating to charities, but don’t know the best way to get involved, consider purchasing an item from their Amazon Wishlist.

I don’t think that I’m a particularly selfish person, but I could definitely do more for people. As an introvert who much prefers being at home with the door closed, this isn’t going to manifest itself in volunteering, or marching, but I can give to charity, and I’ve started trying to do that a bit more.

I’m all for setting up standing orders and donating one-off amounts to charities you believe in, and I’m also very much of the opinion that everyone should be allowed to give as much or as little to the charities they feel passionate about. You shouldn’t let anyone make you feel bad about the choices you make when it comes to charity giving; everyone has a reason for wanting to give, and that’s a personal choice.

But, with larger charities especially, it’s not always obvious where your money is going, and as much as altruism for altruism’s sake is nice, it’s also heartwarming when you see how your donations are being used.

That’s where Amazon wishlists come in. Many smaller charities have them, as they are in need of specific items, and people wishing to donate can choose to purchase them directly. I know Amazon is not everyone’s cup of tea, but when it comes to charitable giving, it’s worth putting all that big bad corporation stuff to the back of your mind, surely?

Charity Wishlists

With that in mind, here are a few charities you can help by purchasing something from their wishlist.

Haven House
This is a children’s hospice who help children and young people who have life-threatening, or life-limiting conditions. Many of the children under their care can’t play with regular toys, so they have an Amazon wishlist comprised of items that are suitable. Find their wishlist here.

Wood Green Animal Charity
Animal charities benefit hugely from physical donations; if you have old duvets and blankets, animal sanctuaries and rescue centres are a good place to take them. Wood Green is one of the leading animal welfare organisations in the UK, and you can find their wishlist here.

BHT
BHT First Base is a resource, training and health centre for people who are street homeless or vulnerably housed in Brighton & Hove. Their wishlist asks for basic items that most people buy for themselves without a thought. Find their wishlist here.

With Kids
This is a family and children’s charity working in Glasgow and Edinburgh, which aims to build self-esteem and resilience in children. They are asking for games and toys; you can find their wishlist here.

SIFA Fireside
SIFA Fireside are a Birmingham-based charity working with vulnerable adults who are experiencing homelessness or are vulnerably-housed. They ask for clothing, razors, and other everyday items. Find their wishlist here.

I’m thinking about making this a regular feature, as I really do think it’s a great way to help out charities that you want to support. Let me know if there are any charities close to your heart who could do with a shoutout!

Mondaying

Right now, I am mostly…

Blogging : My plan to blog every day in May fell apart over the weekend! But then I decided not to beat myself up, and just try and commit to blogging every week day in May (and then try to not beat myself up when that inevitably fails!). Is anyone else trying a BEDM challenge this year?

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Reading : This weekend I read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine in its entirety, having put on my library list without noticing that I already had it on my Kindle. I’m planning a full review of it later in the week, but the fact that I read it in two sittings should give you some idea how much I liked it. (It’s wonderful.)

Watching : My friend Hannah, with whom I live, has never watched Game of Thrones, and I’ve only watched the first four series. So when it popped up on NowTV in anticipation of the new series, we decided to watch from the beginning. I have mixed feelings over the series; having read and loved the books, the series didn’t entirely capture my attention. But I’m enjoying watching again, even if I have to keep warning Hannah not to get too attached!

Exercising : It’s not my natural instinct to exercise, because I’m lazy and I like sitting around too much. But I’ve been a member of The Gym for a while – it’s really affordable and not at all intimidating, and Hannah and I have a routine of going twice a week. It’s working out well so far, and although I’m not seeing noticeable results, just being active is making me feel loads better!

Contemplating : I’m seriously considering having all my hair cut off. I go through stages where I want to grow it long so I can do more with it, and then I just want to cut it all off. It’s really hard to decide, but I’m probably just going to get it cut off and then let it grow if I don’t like it!
IMG_9054Ticking : I ticked off another 35 Before 35 item last week, though I haven’t actually written about any of them yet! The above photo should give you some idea as to which one it was!

 

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