30 January 2018

Fortnightly Favourites #9

I really need to think of a new title for this series, don't I? I was tempted to call it 'January Favourites', but I solemnly swear I do intend to keep this series up! This will be my biweekly place to share those little life joys, from cruelty-free discoveries and my current favourite coffees (sorry Pret, you're out), to pods that made me think and blogs that made me smile .Fortnightly Favourites will be a micro-version of my 17 Silver Linings of 2017, reminding me - and possibly you too - that "Happiness can always be found in the darkest of times" (and Harry Potter references can always be found on my blog).

So far, 2018 has been a whirlwind to say the least. Not only did I return to University, following a 2 -year interruption, I had 3 PGCE interviews in the space of a week and also have a dissertation to write! I'm not ashamed to admit that I've felt overwhelmed at times, yet I think that's mindfulness is more important than ever. When you're suddenly doing so much more than before, It's all-too-easy for being to take a backseat, so that is where this series comes in.

When the blues bite, when the stress stings,  when I'm feeling mad with Apple technology/ buses/ the Daily Mail... I'll write out my fortnight of favourite 'ings' and value the things I've found... 


    DISCOVERING     

Within 2 hours of being back in Exeter, I realised that I didn't bring a single mug with me. For anyone who knows me, you'll know this is like The Queen forgetting her handbag, it just doesn't happen! Then again, I quickly saw an opportunity more golden than the Crown Jewels - I had an excuse to buy a NEW MUG! After spying Primark's Cauldron mug in several instagram photos, I searched the Bath and Bristol Primarks with no luck. Nevertheless, Exeter was new territory and I dared to dream....


... As the picture below show, the dream that I wished came doubly true and I Exeted Primark with TWO HARRY POTTER MUGS. The cauldron mug was the first, obviously, but when i saw the Ravenclaw mug I couldn't resist. Any fellow Ravenclaws will know the struggle of finding Eagle Merchandise (take note Muggles: it's an Eagle, not a Raven #PetPeeves). Even Hufflepuff seem to fair better, possibly because people assume they're the underdog, but let's pause to fact check: didn't they have the chosen one for the Triwizard Tournament? (RIP Cedric). 
I had to take advantage of this moment, so I may have bought a ravenclaw t-shirt and canvas bag too... In my defence, the latter is part of my #SayNoToPlastic resolution! It now accompanies me on every campus/town trip and and was capable of holding 12 library books + 2 pints of soya milk. Not bad for £2! At the time, however, Sophie's back wasn't so thankful... 

Like the canvas bag, my next purchase was frivolous but practical. I've always disliked highlighters #unpopularopinion, because the colours belong to traffic nights, not aesthetically-pleasing notes! Yet when I discovered these pastel highlighters in Paperchase last week, it was one of those "am i seriously getting excited over this? Um, YES!" moments. I have rejected the blue one in consideration of my eyes (it's so much brighter than the others!) but the others have been used daily for my dissertation notes. 
Finally, I've spent the last two weeks decorating/re-decorating my University noticeboard (alongside other priorities) and ordered a couple of prints from my favourite Etsy artists. My NaomiLordArt 'Luna' print was despatched today, so I can't wait to see that, but I already have this beautiful mountain watercolour print from DorkfaceShop and have hung my little bee next to it. The quote says "sometimes when you lose your way, you find yourself", which is so true to my journey in 2017. I've also done a sneaky BumbleandBeMakes promo with my own 'Write your Story' Print, but I prefer to think of it as TAKING MY OWN ADVICE.

    WATCHING    

I'll keep this one short and sweet, because I'm rambling once again *yawn* and these wonderful videos speak for themselves! I am all about supporting smaller vloggers, yet also being genuine - I have a whole rant post on 'follow for follow' to come... Nicole and Ellis are two of my favourites  bloggers/virtual humans and relatively new to youtube, yet they're taken to it like a duck to water.

Nicole's celebration of the 'simple things' is me in a nutshell and I love the sensory focus of her latest video; if you like the concept of ASMR, but can't get on board with all the breathy voices/ clicky noises (or is that just me?) her weekly snapshots are the perfect balance and I am already excited for her next video. 

Ellis is equally a breath of fresh air. Not only is her dog Custard ridiculously cute, as a small business owner and illustrator she brings this creativity to her vlogs. When she said that "doing a primark haul just isn't me", it only made me want to watch more! Anyone can do a "full face of poundland" makeup tutorial (which still costs money.... and how much will you actually use again?). Not everyone can be true to themselves like Ellis and Nicole...


*More Channels I've Loved Lately*
 


     LISTENING     

As it's Veganuary, it seems only fitting to champion The Chickpeeps! Discussing all things bright and bunny-friendly, this podcast is co-hosted by Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood) and I've been a weekly listener since its November debut. With media outlets and certain 'influencers' often misrepresenting veganism as a 'diet', I love how Evanna, Robbie, Tylor and Momo discuss its  CRUELTY FREE roots (no plant pun intended).

With regards to food, recovery is my number one priority now and I do 'my best', to quote nicole; nevertheless, a cruelty-free life is about so much more than food and I plan to talk more about this in 2018 (spoiler: you may be seeing my face on youtube very soon). The Chickpeeps Pod has really opened my eyes to this, particularly with a recent post series on... ANIMAL RIGHTS IN THE WIZARDING WORLD.

Yes, your muggle eyes do not deceive you. In case you missed my snow-white-worthy tweeting/fangirling, they dedicated 3 WHOLE HOURS to the most magical topic of all: Harry Potter! So if you want to know how Newt Scamander got a vegan wand, if mandrakes are classed are a plants, or why Hermione may have the most 'vegan soul' of all, grab some tea hummus and check in with the chick peeps...

* More Pods I've Loved Lately*


   READING   

Sadly 'reading for pleasure' has been pretty much absent from 2018 so far. Since getting back to University, I've been balancing Princess Diana Biographies and Alexander Pope poetry, with Educational journals and a bit of BFG. So just your average bookshelf for an English student/Prospective Primary Teacher then! Alongside 3 PGCE interviews, the majority of the past fortnight has been spent dissertation prepping and writing my essay on Princess Diana and Sylvia Plath; I'm exploring the public ownership of private lives, particularly in the context of confessional writing.

I have to say, Andrew Morton's biography Diana: Her Story exceeded all expectations; it was far more balanced than I imagined and simply presented the life - not the narrative. I only wish I could say the same about Sylvia Plath biographies, which are often so biased it's hard to believe they were written by 'academics.' Then again, I'm at a University that gave a research grant for "the history of beards"... (this could be a rumour, but it wouldn't surprise me).
It's been such an interesting essay to research and write, but it's not exactly lighthearted. After two days straight reading through Plath's journals, I needed a break and nothing says 'change of tone'  like a Roald Dahl dissertation! As my daily dose of self-care, I spontaneously signed up to Amazon Prime and ordered 3 illustrated colour editions of  Roald Dahl... and another crochet book. Whoops.

*In my defence, Dobby has NO CLOTHES and winter has come. As an honorary member of SPEW, I have a duty to give him a Weasley jumper #FreeTheElves.

Back on planet 'new reads', next month I plan to start with either Dodie's 'Secrets for the Mad' or 'The Secret Life of Cows'. Apparently I like secrets? If you've read either of these books, I would to know your thoughts (as long as you #keepthesecrets, obviously). I may take inspiration from Rebecca Coco and have a social media detox - or at least a curfew - so I can dedicate my evenings to my bookshelf.

* Blog Reads I've Bookmarked * 


    TASTING    

Since moving back to Exeter, I've had to adapt to food stores other than Waitrose (scanner shopper life) and it took a while to suss it out. Anyone with experience of an ED will know that change can be hard, but I've tried to embrace it! Who knew Tesco and Sainsbury's were such goldmines for veggies? Well, Sophie didn't and Sophie is one happy herbivore.

My particular favourite is the Deliciously Ella Cacao and Almond Butter Oat Bar, which I've been trying to find for ages and never could. My verdict? It's basically an oat-so-scrummy version of the   almond and cacao energy ball I raved about in my last Fortnightly favourites, so it gets a big paws up from me! I typically dislike almond butter and coconut on their own, but they're in both products and I love them? Tastebuds just get curiouser and curiouser...
Alongside Ella, my love for the banana Graze flapjack has expanded to include the new Raspberry and Chia and Cacao and Orange oat squares, which I found in the train station WH Smiths of all places. These are so handy to take onto campus and are packed with seedy goodness. The good kind of seedy, as in the twin of nutty.... Nutty and seedy just don't have good connotations, do they?

Finally, let's talk about the coffee bombshell of 2018... I really don't like the current Pret blend! I find it too bitter and I've also been disappointed by the lack of veggie options in Exeter's Pret, alongside their insistence that flatbread and tomato soup are a natural pairing. So my current favourites are Coffee one, especially with the addition of dark chocolate sprinkles and Camper Coffee: Shoutout to their barista for doing coffee art with soya milk, because so many places cop out and insist it's "not possible" (I'm looking at you Nero). To quote Barack Obama, YES YOU CAN.

    MAKING     

Here's a quick update of what I've been making in the past couple of weeks. A new House Elf has joined the family, who I have named Felix because I feel like he was my lucky charm last week; it's not everyday you talk about crochet House Elves in a Cambridge Interview and you get an offer! I've also decided that they can't all be called Dobby, because they are FREE to be themselves. I currently have half a dozen creatures around 93.4% ready for Etsy, so stay tuned for more magic soon... 

Speaking of Etsy, I posted a new print on BumbleandBeMakes that is suitably inspired by Teaching! I plan to develop this template into a whole range of book quotes, so if you have any particular quotes you'd love to see, do let me know in the comments. Additionally, I've considered selling physical prints, alongside/instead of digital downloads, as I feel it may appeal to a wider range of people who can't access printing of their own. Do you have any experience of this? If you do, again please don't hesitate to message me! 

   SPOTLIGHTING   

I couldn't write a 'favourites' post for the past fortnight, without mentioning this package I received from the most incredible individual I know. Truly, I mean this, there is no one quite like my Bumble V and this may be the best gift I've ever received! She handmade this little felt bee  - my 'patronos' - and handwrote the note inside the bag (which, being her, was all handmade too). It's one of those things you just can't quite believe and the bee came with me to all my PGCE interviews.

I truly believe it was my lucky charm, as V has been such a huge part of my Teacher  journey - more than she will ever know. She was the person who reminded me of Miss Honey, who inspired me to knit/crochet and continually inspires me to BEE me. Mr Bee (Bumble V) is now with me at University and takes pride of place on my desk. Things like this mean more than all the gold in gringotts and I couldn't be more thankful to have this girl in my life.

Ps: However far apart you are from someone, you can always stay connected. For us, we simply think of our Luna Wood. 
What were your fortnightly favourites?
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2 comments

  1. This is the most epic favourites post I've ever seen.
    That cauldron mug is amazing I want one!!
    I recently bought the pastel highlighters and am so in love with them. Your noticeboard is super cute.

    Steph x
    www.wanderlustpulse.com

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  2. Your favourites read so well! (Plus major fan of the Potter quotes dotted in and around - sometimes you just can’t beat them!) I love your little elves, and will definitely be checking out your Etsy store - and I’m so glad I’m not the only one who struggles to find ‘claw merch! Han xxx

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