You’ve heard the old saying. Somebody does something stupid, or funny, or badly, and you go, “Don’t give up the day job”. And usually it’s comic effect – haha, we all laugh, how funny, and go about our merry way. Because silly Sandra never really planned on being a professional juggler, or an impressionist, or whatever. She’s quite happy doing whatever it is she’s doing.
But I’m here as the advocate of daydreams – and their bigger, badder cousin, The Dream. Because I have A Dream (a song to sing…) and I’m sure as hell not giving up on it.
Hello, my name is Katy Louise Allanby, and I am an abuser of the word tired. I’m addicted to it and can’t get enough. And if you, dear reader, are a modern day person caught up in the world, then I bet you’re the same too!
This is a bit of a late retrospective! It’s been a busy couple of weeks… in that all I’ve done is watch Grimm and Supernatural. Things might be changing a bit soon, but shhh, more on that later!
I’ve become a late convert to Spotify: since I’ve been on a slight frugal curve, I’ve put a stop to the worst of my spending, basically my Amazon account. As such, a few albums I’ve not purchased, but have instead streamed off Spotify. One of these was Lana Del Rey’s latest, Honeymoon. I loved Lana Del Rey since I heard the haunting Video Games, which arguably is her best, and somewhat different to all of her other work. I remember reading an interview after Born To Die when she said she wasn’t going to release any more material, as there was nothing left to say; considering there have been two LPs and the Paradise Edition EP since then, I think it’s fair to say she dug a bit deeper. Honeymoon is definitely on the more Ultraviolence themed side of things, musically at least: a lot slower and gentler, somewhat less on the wild vocal lines as Born To Die, but consistently Lana Del Rey in lyrical content. To be honest, I think Honeymoon is much more solid than Ultraviolence: the second half I essentially bypassed, as it all essentially sounded the same, about bad men doing bad things to the starlet persona, with jarring key changes and choruses. There aren’t many bum notes at all with Honeymoon: from High By The Beach to 24 there isn’t a skippable song. Definitely music to get drunk to in a hot dry summer, sumptuous and self-indulgent, but who doesn’t love a good bit of that every now and then?
I have finished series 3 of Grimm on Netflix and in anticipation of series 5 premiering on Watch soon, I downloaded series 4 off Amazon. Totally binged on it! I’m only a couple of episodes from the end, but poor Nick is having a right time of it. Adalind is seriously getting on my nerves – I’m not necessarily sure that the correct response for someone taking your baby is to disguise yourself as that person’s girlfriend and have sex with them. I know, I know, it was Prince-Not-Eric’s idea, but still, it’s got Adalind up on this high horse and considering she is of no fixed abode, with no reliable income (and, let’s be honest, is everybody really sure that that baby is Renard’s? Paternity test! Paternity test!), and with a track record of rash and questionable decisions, she’s hardly mother of the year material. Renard had it right when he said to her “I so wish I could believe you” (hint about the baby’s paternity??) yet it appears Nick, our puffy-eyed Grimm of woe-is-me, is quite happy to follow Adalind’s breadcrumb trail of deus-ex-machina. It’s nice to see Juliette coming into her own: as a strong character she was getting a bit underutilised as Nick’s piece, though I still want her and Renard to get together: now they would be a powerhouse couple!
Grimm series 5 is on Watch on Tuesdays at 9.
Now, I may very much be late on the bandwagon here, but I’m totally into Supernatural. I’ve been hitting our local CEX and tracking down the early series (is the plural of series serieses?). I stormed through Series 1 and loved it. It is quite scary! I thought it would be more like Buffy, but a lot of it is based on ghost stories – a lot of which are the kind that are represented in every society around – and those are the kinds that in the light of day you can scoff at, but when it’s dark and cold and you’re not sure what that weird tapping noise is outside the window or in the corner of the room, they seem a wee bit more real. I just finished Series 2 and loved it! The chemistry between the two leads is great and there are some fab comedic moments as well as some truly chilling scares. This long-running show will definitely keep me going, especially when I’ve nosied ahead (you can’t help it, SPN fandom is all over Pinterest) and seen demons and angels and what even is Destiel?!
I’ve finished book thirteen! Bard the Bowman and I now embark on the last one… I am a little apprehensive to tackle A Memory Of Light: the biggie, the Last Battle. Often books that build up to an armageddon conclusion wimp out on the last couple of hurdles. I really hope this isn’t the case! I’m thinking of running a live Twitter feed as I progress through. I’m fairly sure Rand must triumph over the Dark One (does he have a name? You hear Dark One, you think Rumpelstiltskin) but getting there looks like a gargantuan task. This series has some of my favourite female characters in it: Nynaeve, Moiraine and Egwene. I’m pleased that Egwene has solidified her perch as the Amyrlin Seat. I’m also dead chuffed that we found Moiraine, after an age of a hiatus (Moiraine and Thom?!), but I’m sorry, who didn’t see Mazrim Taim coming a mile off? If you like more of this sort of drivel, please follow me on Twitter! I’ll think of a clever hashtag.
While Ma and Pa were in Poland visiting Auschwitz, I had a nice long weekend with my doggy. I attempted another Pinterest recipe (somewhat hesitantly, after the too-simple turkey and sweet potato burgers didn’t quite come off) and made some brownies topped with peanut butter. I have learnt to follow your instinct – this is something that is never new to me, yet I need to be reminded of it constantly. The recipe told me to microwave the chocolate for the spread, but I was tempted to melt it my way in a bowl over simmering water. I wish I had followed my own advice! The result is scruffy but they taste amazing – sickly indeed. I will be such a little fatty after scoffing the lot.
For the past few weeks I’ve turned my hand to cross-stitch, which seems to be the revitalised WI craft of choice at the moment. I got a little one from Hobbycraft to start me off, and I’m pretty pleased with my progress! Since the picture below I have actually progressed a wee bit more, and all the flowers are done and the grass is complete!
Hmm, that sounds like a horror movie title… well I don’t think my little life is anything quite like an American horror movie!
It’s been a busy summer and I’ve been trying to write this blog post for a few weeks now, to very little avail. 2015 has been a big year for me – though it doesn’t rightly feel like it, but I’ve made some big decisions and I’m happy to say they were all for the best – and it’s not over yet: who knows what will happen? This summer has flown by – and it’s not really been much of a summer. My vegetable garden is about six weeks behind; I’ve only just managed to harvest my first courgette and have been eating fresh tomatoes and cucumbers for the past two weeks or so. But more on my garden in another post! (She says, with all intents and purposes, as if it might actually happen…)
First things first, I’m writing this from my shiny new laptop! My trusty Dell, which I’ve had since third year uni, started spitting the dummy out a few weeks back: halfway through a major plot point in Grimm season 2, my computer decided to overheat and refuse to come back to life for more than 20 minutes. Maybe it was telling me my Netflix habit was getting out of control, or maybe it was just showing its age. Dad took it apart and cleaned up the fan but it was probably just the start of a few more problems – a five year old laptop has probably run its course. So after Dad losing his temper in PC World, with me and Mum chasing after him (queues + back to uni shopping rush = not a good day for the Loys), I picked up my shiny blue HP from Currys Digital in the Prospect Centre and, aside from adjusting to a new keyboard, I’m dead chuffed.
Mum and I entered our village horticultural show: cue momentous stress and rage as pastry refused to play fair, rules were lately acknowledged (if at all) and little victories. Overall we were pleased with our hauls: a first prize apiece and a handful of seconds and thirds between us, we now have enough cake to last us through the winter.
Recently I got a Netflix subscription: I’ve been addicted to Grimm (Captain Renard, all the way!), caught up with Once Upon A Time, not to mention I’ve bookmarked a whole load of other shows to watch. However after seeing about a million fandom references on Pinterest, I bought the first series of Supernatural from CEX, and now I’m hooked. I may have to take in all my old DVDs, CDs and games to pay for the rest of the series. So instead of blogging like a good little girl, I’ve been sat in the sewing room scaring myself silly watching ghost stories.
When I’m not watching the Winchester brothers or wasting hours on Pinterest, I’ve been ploughing my way through a mammoth book series. At the beginning of the year, shortly after leaving the PGCE, I began to revisit a series I’d gotten about half way through a couple of years back and stalled on: Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. I’m currently over halfway through book twelve of fourteen! It’s been a bit of a quest getting hold of the books: I had books 1 – 8 already, purchased generally in bulk from the second hand bookshop in Pickering, but when they didn’t have the next ones, I think I went to every charity shop I could find within walking distance of work (or walking distance from St Stephens, I should say) to track down the rest. I now have all 14 and am so close to the end, it’s a bit scary! Stay tuned for a full post about this series.
Usually summers for me are a bit of a haze. Most people look forward to summers: teachers for obvious reasons, gardeners for the fruition of months of preparation, and others for, I don’t know, warmth, heat, sunshine. When you work in summer schools, it’s a little different: summer is our busiest time (or rather, May onwards). I’ve worked in summer schools now for six summers (which sounds like an age) and so I tend to spend the best parts of summer in apprehension of what’s going to go wrong next; I’m good at forgetting my birthday in the middle of July. Usually the end of summer is marked for me by a trip to the Nurburgring, and this year was no different! We went at the end of August and it was scorching: I got some interesting tan lines as well as a few laps in. Got some pretty good pictures as well, which eventually I will upload in a separate post about this bi-annual pilgrimage. Last trip of 2015 – sad times!
I’ve got a week off work now, hurrah, so will have time to prep a load of posts, but also to do all those things I’ve not gotten round to yet… like watching the rest of Supernatural series 1 and Grimm series 3, and get closer to the end of the Wheel of Time! ^.^
I’ll make a promise here, too: separate posts on what I’ve learned this summer in my garden, a recap of our trip to Germany, and a rambling incoherent piece about my book series.
This Friday I’m going to turn 25! How scary is that?! A whole quarter of a century, and I still feel like I’m far too new to life to be allowed out on my own.
Sometimes I worry that I’ve not achieved everything I wanted to have done by now. So many people I went to school with have had babies, are having babies, are getting married, are married, or are divorced by now. That’s a wee bit freaky! Facebook is a terrible thing for that. I suppose I’ve done some pretty cool things myself – driven the Nurburgring, travelled alone, done a Masters degree (despite still not being entirely sure if it’s Masters or Master’s or even Masters’!), and I do have to keep reminding myself that I shouldn’t be comparing myself to other people – just because that particular thing is their sole goal in life, doesn’t mean I am a failure for not achieving it. And sometimes being on the outside means you see the whole picture of a situation that those inside of it are totally blind to.
Not only am I turning 25 this Friday, but it also is a different milestone for me. I would have been graduating for my PGCE as well. I can’t quite believe that over half a year ago I was in schools doing my teaching practice. I may not know exactly what I want to do or what I’m meant to do in life, but I definitely know what I don’t want to do – which I think is a lot more than many people do. A lot of people told me I was brave for deciding that teaching wasn’t for me and stepping out of it. I never once thought it was brave: to me, it was just a horrible situation, and one that I couldn’t bear to be in any longer. And I can honestly say, hand on my heart, that it has been a decision I’ve never regretted! I don’t think I would have made it to graduation in any case.
This weekend I went to see Into the Woods performed by the Hessle Theatre Company, and then I went to a Garden Party raising money for MIND. I feel like I’ve had a busy weekend, away from home, and going to the Garden Party really helped me put things into perspective, especially since it was held in honour of someone who has passed away. It was an absolutely wonderful event to attend, and I think my friend Karen and her partner Mark did a fantastic job!
I may not have gotten married or popped out a sproglet, however I have a professional job which I hope I’m good at (!!!), some amazing friends, a wonderful family, and, possibly the best bit – I have managed to grow a cauliflower! An actual cauliflower! I’ve managed to do some writing: it probably wasn’t Booker-Prize-winning, but it was sincere; and I’ve actually got to Book Nine in the Wheel of Time. I won’t say anything about work, to not jinx it, but I do feel pretty happy right now.
I wouldn’t say I’m an “eternal” singleton, though I feel often pigeonholed as one, but I am certainly not against romance (do you know of anyone who is single and available, preferable with an interest in cars, gardening, prepared to only ever go on holiday to the Nurburgring, likes cats and big excitable fluffy white doggies, and prepared to deal with zombie me during the week/summer? Then please do get in touch!) However I am definitely not one of these people who view the “single status” (eurgh) as a cursed plague. The people who have never not been in a relationship since they were 15 (and I don’t just mean in the same relationship!) do bamboozle me.
So I thought a bit, and came up with a list of things that are amazing and only apply to you if you are single. A celebration of the singleton, if you will!
I didn’t want this list to be like those you find in Cosmo, etc: you know the type! With a snappy title, “33 reasons why being single is amazing”, and then once you’re reading it, it’s a list written by someone in a couple who has gone through all the annoying things their partner does and condescendingly told we eternal spinsters “at least you don’t have to put up with someone stealing the duvet/shaving your legs everyday/pretending to like football/cars/gaming”. I also didn’t want this to fall into a Bridget Jones kind of territory.
I want this to be a bit more serious. Being single isn’t some frothy frivolous idea that we do for a laugh; nor is it some disease that is catching, akin to boyfriend-poaching or the desire to have lots of cats.
It is a conscious decision to never settle for less, and one I believe in very much!
Now these are in no particular order! These are just as they occurred to me.
1. Not having to compromise. Everything is for you: not to be shared. Now I am an only child, so I’m not used to sharing anyway. But from my experience, in relationships it’s all about the consultation: can we do this, do you want to do this, we have to do this instead of this. But when you’re on your onesie, who do you have to compromise with? No one (except maybe the devil/angel on your shoulder!)
2. Not having to justify! When you spend your money – buying whatever you want or need, be it shoes, dresses, handbags; a new camera, tickets to the football, or a new car – it’s your money you’re spending; not somebody else’s! I couldn’t imagine having to hide purchases, or lie about them, because someone else would judge me – or worse still, attack me for them. This is my money which I’ve earned – to spend on me!
3. Feeling free. There is a sense of liberty in being single. You are free to do whatever you like: go travelling, go abroad, move abroad; you can move to a different place, be it in this country or another, as your flexibility depends on you rather than on two. It doesn’t have to be restrictive to that: I dallied with spending a little time abroad and ultimately didn’t like it; but I still had the opportunity.
4. Being wholly in control. This leads on from the one before. Naturally this maybe applies to where you are in your life: if you’re a wee bairn with your life ahead of you, control is maybe edged towards the people you still depend on; I myself am still a wee bairn at heart. But controlling what you do with time/money/life is a big deal.
5. Having no one to answer to. I don’t know about you, but I hate somebody wanting to know the reason why I did this or that. Is this one a little too much like 2? I suppose another way to look at it is to think that you don’t
6. Your time is your own. This is sooo important. As someone who has always been characteristically a bit of a loner and leaning towards introvert in her person, having to suddenly share my time – my most precious asset – with somebody else, whose ideas often run at a very different angle to my own, is something I don’t take to very well. I’ve been me and just me for so long I’ve gotten quite nicely used to it.
7. Appreciate the little things. Usually things like a peaceful night’s sleep and cooking what you want without having to cater for different tastes and allergies and whatnot. But also being able to get in from work, chuck on the appropriate slob clothes, and watch whatever rubbish there is on telly (usually Keeping up with the Kardashians or Say Yes to the Dress). These are important things!
8. Get out of ‘Keeping up with Mr & Mr Jones’. Some people in couples love this! I swear some couples are solely based on this. Such-and-such got together, so we have to get together; they went on holiday, so we now have to go on holiday; they bought a house; they got married; they’ve split up… wait? I sound bitter, but please bear in mind I am observant, and especially observant of people, and some things are so obvious to the outsider it’s almost scripted.
9. Enjoy your quirks! So I like various things that aren’t going to be compatible with everyone: I like metal music, I like listening to German radio stations, I like researching healthy food ideas that most men would call ‘rabbit food’, I like writing about my life on my blog, I like watching The Big Bang Theory over and over again, and my favourite movies are Japanese anime (Studio Ghibli!), I like being on my own, and I like spending a whole day up to my elbows in soil and compost and a bit of manure. Hmmm, do you like the sound of that? Sign your name below!
10. Focus on today, and making today great – not next week, next month, next year. This is probably applicable to all of life, but I’m very good at obsessing over things I have little control over right now, or perhaps things that won’t yield results till much later. I think my inherent impatience is something contributes a lot to my sporadic blasts of creativity, imbued with an edge of desperation. Ooh, that was almost poetic! That must be the third glass of moscato talking.
So, it’s taken about ten revisions and a week of writing… but I think that’s your lot! Not bad for a Saturday night, eh?
I think we are very much pre-programmed, at least biologically to find a mate, but we’re also brainwashed by the media, and by films and television and books and everything, that finding a partner and being in a relationship is key to success. Being focused on ourselves is now considered selfish, which in itself is now decided to be a bad thing. Pah!!! Being single is good. Because I do firmly believe that we should never settle for anything less than the absolute best we can achieve.
Let me know. Do you agree? Or am I indeed an alien? Have I simply not found “the Right One” yet? Or might I be onto something? Give me your thoughts! Though please, no pity parties!
One whole year of Windy Farm and A little blue Subaru called Dickie!
I can’t quite believe I’ve been blogging for a whole year now. I’m only just getting the hang of it.
It amazes me how many blogs there are out there, all about relationships and life in relationships. I’m keen on budgeting and saving money, but every blog I look at tends to be one (or more often both) of two things: American, and about a couple saving on two incomes.
What about us singletons?! Who aren’t American, have one wee salary coming in, and run two cars, and have an issue with expensive taste, and living beyond our means?!
What about us that aren’t saving for holidays with partners and aren’t saving up for big swish weddings?
Sure, it’s maybe sad when you’ve had a rough day, or you’re poorly, or you’ve been back and forth between doctors’ (doctor’s? Aaargh!) surgeries and chemists looking for sympathy about your earache, and you get home and there isn’t someone waiting for you. But then again, I have this face to come home to, so that’s not too bad:
I had to have a bit of a social media purge at the weekend. I deleted Facebook off my phone (for about the fourth time). Why? While in essence it’s a great little thing, the book of face, for sharing pictures and keeping up to date with people you went to school with who you probably never even spoke to at school let alone now, but it’s also a nasty little device of oneupmanship and (inadvertent I’m sure) Rubbing Everyone’s Faces In Your Own Glory. Genuine thing, that.
I read a post on Pinterest the other day about a lady who was 26, without a husband, without children, and without a career. While it did have a definite Christian swing, the premise was something I can definitely relate to! I will be 25 this year – a quarter century. I don’t have a husband and certainly no children, thank you very much; not even a date on the horizon! However I do have a career, which I’ve spent a long time struggling to cultivate. I am proud of the job I do at the moment: I love the company I work for, love the people I work with, and even though it is an office job, it’s still an office job that serves a definitive purpose. I just wish it wasn’t a two hour round trip away!
So in honour, I now launch Single Belle on the Farm!
Minimalist March is turning into a year long minimalist quest! During the past two weeks I’ve made slow but steady progress through my bedroom, and I’ve trawled through my drawers, my vanity table, my wardrobe. It was going through my vanity table that I got a whole bag load of old cosmetics and makeup.
Inspired by Simone Simons’s blog, Smoon Style, here is my Minimalist March Beauty Blog.
Bet you didn’t know I was a metal fan, either, hey?
So it’s taken me a while to get the pictures up for my beauty blog! I’m not a mega beauty-centric person: my daily routine tends to be moisturiser (obviously), lip balm, lipstick, and maybe a slick of eyeliner, and my trusty brow definer kit from Benefit. If I catch sight of my face in the mirror I might quickly dash upstairs and put some foundation, blusher and highlighter on; that’s a slippery slope though – then I’m tempted to put more on my eyes, and next thing you know, I’m looking ready for a night out when I’m going to be in the office all day. Whoops!
This “beauty bin” is basically a conglomeration of various bits and bobs that I have accumulated – *shudder* – over the years! I have a huge carrier bag of things to throw out – along with my stacks of books I’m listing on ebay and clothes I have waiting in bags. Minimalist March is definitely going to run into Minimalist April!
This is a snapshot of my beauty bin! Lots of goodies in here. Some of these are my favourites – the pink Soap & Glory spray, for example; the Lancome mascara in the middle of the picture; and on the far left the white and black lipstick is actually a MAC lip balm that is my second absolute fave, behind the Smashbox one they discontinued. Sob!
I’ll go into a bit of detail on a selection:
1. Is a Rimmel lip in an alarming coral colour that did nothing for my skin tone at all! It was a bit drying and just sat uncomfortable on my lips. Not good.
2. Raspberry Sorbet – yummy, but I have an issue with lipglosses. They’re sticky and when you live on Windy Farm, where it’s always gale-force, you end up with lipgloss stuck in your hair. I also worry that my lips might get stuck shut and I’d never be able to speak again, which for me is a nightmare.
3. Sexy Mother Pucker is the famous Soap & Glory lipgloss. Another gloss! Hence why they’re in the beauty bin. This one made my lips tingle like mad: I presume that’s to try and plump them up, Angelina Jolie style. Again, a liability on Windy Farm.
4. Aah, hello Lancome! This has an extra special story. When I was at university a boy messed me around a little bit. I was naive, looking for love, and he was not a very nice person. I was left embarrassed and gutted, so I bought a £25 lipstick from the Lancome counter in revenge. I felt better when I wore it. It also was renamed after him, but I shan’t name names…
5. The classic Essential Care Nivea – enough said!
6. MAC lip balm – this was a wonderful replacement for the all time best lip balm ever, now discontinued from Smashbox. It was perfectly moisturising without being greasy, gentle on my lips yet long lasting. I’ve held onto the tube for about three years now… I think it maybe needs to go now. I shall shed a tear!
Lancome mascara is my favourite – it isn’t clumpy (and no one but no one wants mascara clumps: girls! Why do you still use clumpy mascara?! Not a good look!), is jet, jet black, thick without giving you three lashes, and comes off like it should with a good remover. They also made a limited edition sparkly version which was amazing: if you wore it and look towards lights, at the edge of your vision all you would see were stars! It was beautiful and magical and for a black and the sparkly it was about £50. The Penniless Princess in me flinches.
The palette on the left is from Virgin Vie: that is precisely how old it is. But I love the shades of brown, with the perfect grey-neutral and a lovely chocolate. Try as I might, I’ve not found anything to replace this yet: and certainly not for £8, which was how much I think this cost me!
The two round cases are Bourjois and I think I had every colour from my uni days. I never wear either, though the silver looked mega dramatic on the inner corners of my eyes for nights out. Now I’m a little too old for a lot of glitter; or so people tell me, anyway! I do beg to differ, as I love my glitter and sparkles.
Finally the moonshine is from Sephora when I went to Paris when I was 19. So it’s 6 years old! Eeeew. And it’s hardly ever been used. I think I just liked the swirly pattern. Well, Minimalist March – out it goes!
1. This is a serum by No7 which I think the lady sold it to me as the third part of a 3 for 2, such as they often have in Boots. I wanted a night cream and was informed I was too young for a night cream, so I ended up with this serum. As it comes out of the pump it evaporates almost immediately, which made it hard to apply to the skin: I ended up with a lot of it directly applied to one place, and next to nothing elsewhere. I didn’t see any beneficial effects at all, and have started using an eye cream and night cream. Will be 25 this year – think it’s time to start.
2. My No7 moisturiser. Every day without fail I wear this. Then Bilbo licks it all off my face. It’s normal/dry; I have normal/dry/oily/combination skin, but this was the most suitable, and I love it. It comes with SPF and sinks into my skin immediately, so it doesn’t feel cloying or greasy in any way. This is probably my sixth or seventh pot: I have one opened and a second in reserve!
3. A Benefit moisturiser. I liked the shape of the bottle and the cork lid more than anything else. It felt heavy on my skin: think it was maybe a choice of style over substance!
And that’s your lot! 1200 words, lots of pictures, and a big delay. I’ve really enjoyed writing this one. Apologies for the naff photos – at some point I need to invest in a photo box and a camera. At the moment I’m using my iPhone and taking photos at night with the glare from the main room light. Bad blogger!
I hope you enjoyed reading this. Oof, I’m knackered!
While I’ve been reading around on other blogs, I keep catching sight of this “Bloglovin'”, and found it all very mysterious. I downloaded the app on my iPad and while I liked reading through all the other blogs and getting up to date with what other bloggers are doing, I was still clueless as to what it could do for my blog.