RSS Feed

Tag Archives: reading

Life Bite: Get Organised!!

With so much going on in my life at the moment, and so many different things that need to be done, I have to make sure I’m organised. I need to stay on top of things, and keep track of what I’m doing, what needs to be done…if I’m not careful the small errands get away from me or I don’t factor in the time I need to get bigger tasks done! It also means I can be sure to keep up a social life and get out and about the eevnts and parties etc. that I want to go to, as I can plan ahead and make sure I get everything done around having a life!

These tips and tricks are mainly useful for Students, as that’s a huge part of my life at the moment, but there’s still something in here for everyone…for me, being organised is the key to living a full life!!

IMG_0179The three things in life I wouldn’t get anywhere without…and the iPhone that this pic was taken with!

I have everything on this laptop. All the reading lists, schedules, timetables, deadlines, course breakdowns, essays, articles…everything for my uni courses is on here and it’s my first port of call when I need to get some work done! And I can’t stand a messy desktop or filing system…everything is filed away into conventient folders withing folders withing folders…But it means I can find exactly what I’m looking for when I want it. The same goes for off the laptop too though!

The iPad is more of a gadget and a toy, but I read everything on it. All of my books, both for leisure and any for my courses that come in ebook version or are electronic resources are on here and because it’s so light and compact, I always have it in my bag, so I can get some valuable reading done (whether for work or pleasure) wherever I am! I also have all my emails coming to the iPad as well as the laptop and iphone, so I never miss a trick! It’s also great to be able to type and do any little bits and pieces (ordering groceries, writing memo’s, emails, essay drafts, blog posts…) on the move without fiddling around on the iPhone.

And the book. I do not know how I would survive without the book. It’s my diary and it’s my to-so list and it has everything I ever need to know about what’s happening, when, where…

Diary

If I could only give one piece of organisational advice, it would be this: Keep a diary and make to-do lists! I record all events and committments and appointments and lectures etc in the diary dection, but at the back I have individual day pages and I have lists of everything that needs to be done. I can keep track of what reading I need to do for what lectures (Friday I read for Monday’s lecture, Saturday for Thursday’s, Sunday for my Dissertation, Wednesday and Monday for my French Course etc.) but I can also move things around to suit what else I need to get done. If I can’t finish something one day, it goes straight on the next day’s pag and that way I keep on track of it all. I lvoe a good list, but it’s honestly my number one tip for staying on top of everything that needs to be done…even if it’s just making sure the recycling goes out for collection, or remembering to ring the landlord (again!)…today I defrosted the freezer!

IMG_0188

We also have a flat calendar so everyone knows who’s doing what, when and who will be in/out/available or of use at any given time without running around trying to communicate! We’re all dashing around and work very different schedules, so we often don’t see each other for days at a time, but we can leave notes for each other and sort things out much easier when we know what everyone’s doing. I can set up a meeting with the landlord when i know everyone will be in, without having to ring them individually and then call him back! He’s tricky, so you never want to leave it open-ended!

IMG_0181

For students; Files, folders, colour coordinate. Whatver works, but keep everything organised and together and in the right place! It makes it a thousand times easier to keep on top of work and get things done when you know where your notes for that particular lecture will be, or need to find a book while you’re dashing out because you’re late!!

IMG_0182

I love storage and organisation, as I’m sure you’ve gathered. But you can get pretty cheap units like these and keep everything where it should be! I have several of these little towers in my room, and I have a drawer for facial products, body products, hair products, nails, make-up, and many more…and then there’s the miscelaneous drawer! But keeping things where they should be just saves that extra time when you haven’t got much to spare.

And finally, it’s just about making time! I like to take care of myself as much as I have plenty to do. So I plan it in. I don’t sit and write down daily schedules (I’m not THAT crazy and neurotic!!) but I do map out the day in my head a little. I wake up at 6, because that’s when I’m up. It happens and it’s actually convenient, but I always make sure to plan the night before.

For example: If I have to be at work at 9, I need to leave at 8:10, so I need to be pretty much ready to go at 8, which means I need to eat breakfast at 7:30, which means I need to be ready at 7:15 which means I need to be IN the shower at 6:15, which means I need to get up at 6…see what I mean? I always over estimate, because I hate to be late and stressed out, but that’s the general idea! It means I allow time for my beauty routine, time to get the make-up on and time to sit down and eat breakfast and be well set for the day! I also plan and lay out my outfit for the day the night before to make myself all the more efficient the next day!

So really, as it turns out, my organisation tip is this: BE ORGANISED! Note things down, keep everything in one place and where it should be, make lists, make plans…and when you’ve done all that, go out and have fun! (As long as it’s in the plan…!!) I’m not saying be neurotic and if things go off schedule, it’s not the end of the world, but this way, you’re more likely to keep on top of things and make the time to relax and live your life!

Thursday Bite: Get Ready For The Fall!

Thursday Bite: Get Ready For The Fall!

paper-autumn-coffee-books-notebook-290x290I’ve said it before; as far as I’m concerned, Autumn doesn’t begin until next week, so I’m using this week to prepare for Autumn. In every way!

Uni starts back up next week and my French Language course begins in the next couple of weeks too, so it’s time to get organised and prepared for some work!

It’s been oddly warm here in London all this week, so it definitely doesn’t feel like Autumn, but I’m told (although BBC weather may not be as reliable as it would have us believe…) that next week the mercury will begin to drop again, starting the steady slide into winter and the dreaded negative numbers!

With the dropping temperature of Autumn, obviously there is a need for a new wardrobe. Jumpers, scarves, cardigans, boots…the list goes on and I’m totally un-prepared for Autumn so I need to start stockpiling the woollens!

Furthermore, now that summer is almost behind us (I know…who am I kidding?) I need to over-haul my beauty regimes and make-up bag. I need to say good-bye to the light summer tones and hello to the intensive moisturisers (to soothe the wind-battered skin!) and dramatic Autumnal make-up tones.

So…one hell of a to-do list…But I shall begin as I mean to go on (and I secretly love making lists and plans and over-preparing for anything I can!)

GET ORGANISED!

Flatpack bookshelf assembly instructions: 2 People 1 hour. Bookshelf
Last night: 1 girl, 35 minutes. Take that Ikea!

So I put together my new bookshelf last night. It’s a cheap thing from Ikea until I can get hold of a nicer one; I might steal one from my parents’ house…But anyway, for months now I’ve had a growing collection of piles of books, papers, files and folders in various locations around the floor of my room, and it was getting ridiculous.

Anyway, I spent the rest of the evening enjoying a nice fuzzy-feeling of accomplishment…now all I need is some new stationary for the upcoming academics!

Starting out a new academic year (or term or even week…) organised and fully prepared really sets you up to buckle down and get hard at work. Out with the old and in with the new!

AUTUMN WARDROBE!

I’m not going to deny it, I’ve thrown myself into the acquisition of a new wardrobe with vigour!

I always make use of the Summer sales to grab some bargains on the essentials for Autumn, and I’ve been preparing for this season for a couple of months now!

shop

See my review of Hush’s Autumn/Winter line for all the essentials, and I’ve already put in my first order for the season…currently compiling the second!

Must take a trip to Sloane Square this weekend to pop into Massimo Dutti, Reiss and Anthropologie – who have a great ‘20% off Dresses’ offer on at the moment – as well as all the other favourites to really kick off Autumn in style!

I’ll begin my Autumn Fashion Series next week, and I’m thoroughly enjoying the preparation for it this week! The single best thing about the colder weather (and let’s face it, there aren’t many positives…) is the need for a new wardrobe. And I savour it!

Making use of the summer sales and starting well ahead of the season to get the basics and essentials for the colder weather is a great way to spread the cost and grab some bargains, leaving you the space to splash out on luxury statement pieces when the A/W lines drop!

BEAUTY MAKE OVER!

beauty hall

The most important thing about a beauty regime in the Autumn and Winter months is taking care of your skin. The cold and wind and rain really take their toll and making sure that you have a solid beauty regime is vital to keepyourself looking healthy and take care of your precious skin! After all, skin is for life, not just for Christmas!

I’ve started researching the new products in skin care this season, and I’ve been hunting around for some good deals and trying out all the samples! There’s no point in spending a lot of money on products that aren’t right for my skin and will turn out to be a waste of money…

I’ve started getting quite a few things on ebay at the moment…if you look hard enough, you can find some great make-up deals on completely new and unused products, as long as you know what you want and what you’re looking for!

My biggest MUST for Autumn make up, however, is get in new foundations/powders etc! the sun-kissed glow of summer skin is already beginning to fade an

sampl

d so often people (me included sometimes) forget to change their products with the change in skin tone! I’m off to Bare Minerals’ GoBare Tour this weekend to get ‘re-fitted’ for the coming season. I don’t often wear foundations and many skin products in the summer as they’re heavy and I don’t need much, but when Autumn hits, I need to start wearing a little more!

Take advantage of as many samples, testers, trials and free products as you can before you splash out on a new set of Beauty products for Autumn. There’s no point in wasting money on below-par products or treatments that aren’t right for you. Experiment before you buy, but remember, skin-care is an all important MUST for this season!

Reading Bite: Carlos Ruiz Zafón

shadow

Last christmas a family friend gave me a book entitled The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. I had never heard of the author and being a little bit picky about books, I wasn’t sold, although the cover looked nice!

But then my dad said he had read the prequel, The Shadow of the Wind and he thought it was excellent. So whilst I was staying with my parents at home for the Christmas week, I decided to give the book a go.

From the very first chapter I was completely and utterly drawn in and hooked. The Shadow of the Wind is essentially a story within a story. Daniel Sempere’s discovery of ‘The cemetary of forgotten books’ sets him on a quest to discover the identity of the author of a mysterious book, and the story twists and turns in a beautiful and captivating way as we slowly discover the tragic life of Julian Carax and the malignant devil that follows Carax and his works. A story of forbidden love, tormented souls, loss, discovery, danger and regret, this book had me enthralled from the beginning and I never knew what was going to happen next or where the story was going to lead me. This was a captivating book, full of a wonderful sense of setting, beautiful writing and incredible characters and I was in love from the start.

prisonerSo within a week I had finished the book and greedily plunged myself into the next: The Prisoner of Heaven. Set some years after the first book, but including many of the same characters, we are presented with another story within a story. The character of Fermin Romero de Torres, whom we met in the first book is brought to the forefront and in the eloquent, intricate and captivating style of Zafón’s writing, we are introduced to his story. His past is filled with melodrama; he was imprisoned during the civil war and befriended a strange author (who we meet/met in another of Zafón’s books!) and it is another story filled with passion, intrigue, crime, danger, literature and once again, a dangerous trend of the past coming back to haunt the present! I was not dissappointed by this sequel, as I so often can be; it really lived up to The Shadow of the Wind and turned my admiration for Zafón’s writing into something of an addiction!angel

The Angel’s Game is a prequel to The Shadow of the Wind and we are introduced to David Martin, a young author who is approached by a mysterious figure who employs him to write a book. And not just any book…We are lead down another winding path, with twists and turns and full loops as we see the tragedy and turmoil of Martin’s life unfold. Depending upon the order in which one reads these books, the reader may or may not have a sense of the character from reading The Prisoner of Heaven, which I read before this one, so I already had an inkling of where this labyrinthian tale was headed! But even so, the turmoil, tragedy, forbidden love, corruption, passion and disaster that I had grown to love in Zafón’s stories was still present and his artful creation of sinister characters and a constant sense of impending terror and doom was heightened and displayed magnificently.

I’m not going to write big long book reviews on Zafón’s works, and to be honest, it’s been too long since I read these books for me to do so. I don’t read with a critical eye, I read stories I enjoy, by author’s I love with captivating stories just to enjoy them. I read for pleasure and that is what all of Zafón’s books gave me. It’s just a shame that there aren’t more of his novels translated into English!

midnightThat said, a new book of his has just been released in English: The Midnight Palace. I bought this the other day – after having finished The White Queen I was desperately searching for a new book, and one that could live up to the excellence of Phillipa Gregory’s books – and I didn’t actually realise that it’s a short novella for young adults. But I didn’t let that discourage me and I can honestly say, although I’m not that far into it, the same old Zafón charm and style is there! I’m loving it at the moment and it’s got all the hallmarks: a sinister presence from the past, forbidden love, danger, passion and the constant twists and turns and jumps from the past to the present that I love so much. It may be aimed at young adults, but it’s doing the trick!

If you like mystery and intrigue, tales of lost love and tormented passion, and stories full of sinister characters, startling plot twists and a constant search for the truth, then I fully recommend Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s books. He creates beautifully vivid worlds and intricate, vibrant characters, and brings the styles of melodrama and gothic thriller together in an exciting and enjoyable way. These books cannot be taken too seriously, but they are enjoyable reading and if you’re not fussed on ‘accuracy’ or ‘believability’ then give Zafón’s works a try!

Reading Bite: Philippa Gregory

I am currently reading The White Queen, and I will say now, I’m loving it. the white queen

But then, I didn’t expect NOT to love it.

When the BBC aired their 10-part adaptation The White Queen, I was hooked. I had never read any of her books before – not even during the The Other Boleyn Girl hype, and so I thought, why not take a look?

I’ve always loved the Wars of the Roses/Tudor period in history, so I was thrilled when I found she had written so many books about the time.

So I began…

Rather obsessively I suppose, I decided to aim for chronological order…in a manner.

My first purchase, and my first read was The Constant Princess. This was my introduction to Gregory and it well and truly got me hooked!

the-constant-princessThe story is written from the point of view of Katherine of Aragon, from her early childhood through her initial marriage to Henry V111’s brother and up until the beginning of Henry’s affair with Anne Boleyn.

I was hooked from the first few pages. It often takes me a while to really get into a book (you know: can’t put it down, must know what happens next kid of hooked!) but not with this one. The style of writing is easy and the story engaging, and there is so much information about the period, that you feel like you’re learning as well!

Next came The Other Boleyn Girl. Now, if you’ve seen the movie, don’t think that means you know what the book is about. I had seen the film years ago and I was stunned at how different it is from the book. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the only thing they have in common is the name. This book was brilliant, in my opinion, and whether or not it is all factually correct is neither here nor there as far as I’m concened. It even got to the point that, although I knew that Anne and George Boleyn were executed (we’ve all been in primary school History?) as I was reading, I was really hoping and believeing that they might succeed and that they might escape their fate! Foolish, I know…

82004-Tea_and_a_good_book_CPxRILxAnnieMI read a bouple of others from the Tudor Court series, but I won’t mention them. Next I bought The Red Queen. Margaret Beaufort’s lifelong devotion to God, bizzare view of the world and maniacal ambition was gripping. I never warmed to the character, in fact I was rooting for her downfall, but still I could not put the book down!

Although we all know the stories: they’re our British history, and we know how everything ends, it is the journey that Gregory captures and what makes the books so engaging and interesting. Her factual accuracy has been widely questioned, but to me, that’s irrelevant. I want to read a good book with a good story. That’s all.

If you are at all interested in history…or scandal…or even witchcraft, romance or simple drama, then give Philippa Gregory’s books a try. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

Sunday Bite: Reading a good book

Sunday is both the end and the beginning of my week.books

It’s the day where I prepare for the coming week: I do food shopping, I do laundry and cleaning and I finish up and bits and pieces of work from the previous week. This is why I see it as my beginning: a fresh start every week!

But I also try to relax. I don’t like to do nothing, so I’m busy all week and always have something to do. I love reading, and I’m always looking for the next good book; I read on the train when I’m commuting, and I read a little before bed, but I never really give myself time to sit down with a cup of tea and really enjoy my book.

So Sunday.

I’ve done my grocery shopping, I’ve done all my laundry and even the ironing! I’ve finished up my French verb revision (another story for another time!). What to do now?

I think everyone should make the time in their life to curl up with some tea and a biscuit and really get stuck into a good book!