31 Dec 2014

A few of my favourite things: 2014 edition

2014 has come to an end, and I thought that I'd share a few of my favourite things of 2014. From songs to bloggers and trends of the past 12 months. It's going to be a wordy post, but I feel that a lot of the things mentioned here have got me through some really tough parts of this past year, and others have brought me a lot of smiles and a lot of confidence.


29 Dec 2014

NYE outfit inspiration - ft rings from Invaluable

It's the end of 2014 in two days and, well, first: where the hell did this year go? I demand an answer!!! second: that means parties. Lots of parties. And parties means shopping and dresses and above all: outfits.

Because looking good to ring in the new year no matter how drunk you are is always a must. Any and all embarrassment endured will be because of behaviour, and not by how we're dressed, thank you very much. Or accessorised. Unless the accessorising is really very tragic - which it wouldn't be now, would it. But putting all of the oomph into what you're wearing, especially at short notice, like I'm prone to doing, is sometimes so annoyingly hard, and all creativity seems to run away.

So when I was introduced to  Invaluable, and asked if I could style an outfit around a ring of theirs to provide some inspiration, I thought why not - this isn't a sponsored post. Invaluable is an auction site, way more upmarket than ebay, that sells things from collectibles to estates. Most of the items listed are quiiite a bit out of my price range, but I find it fun to look at the expensive stuff and find dupes on the 'definitely more affordable' side of things. Plus jewellery is always a special gift, if you want to get your Christmas shopping done a full year in advance...

You can browse the rings > here <.

28 Dec 2014

Feeling definately spoiled

I think this christmas was probably the most exciting for me, or at least the most anticipated, since I was under 10. I've been utterly and completely spoiled by my family, and I'm so incredibly grateful, since along with the usual Primark socks and pyjamas, I got one of the things I have longed for since I started taking photography more seriously. The canon EOS 700d plus the standard efs 18-55mm lens. I honestly couldn't be happier.

I was also lucky enough to get another thing on my wishlist from my aunt and uncle: Long Clothing's infinity print leggings. I'm slowly building up my collection ready for fashion week. They're also incredibly comfy, I'd really recommend them.

All in all, my family and I have had a really special Christmas to add to a pretty hectic year. 

What did you get for Christmas? Anything super special? 


26 Dec 2014

The gift of giving

How was everyone's Christmas? I hope you were all thoroughly spoiled, and did a fair bit of spoiling your loved ones yourself. I certainly tried this year, saving and scrimping where I could paid off, judging from the faces of my family. It's also really nice to just sit around playing board games with everyone (not monopoly, never monopoly, no one wins at monopoly), since I missed out last year, what with being the other side of the world and all.

I think as I grow older, most of what I wish for in my life is not able to be bought - which goes for a lot of people - so I definitely get more of a kick out of giving gifts and letters and smiles than receiving. I've also been a bit cheeky and none too share-y with my present purchasing this year, just to keep the surprise

very british problems | letters of note | new look jewellery | princess mirror compact| long clothing

I took full advantage of my free uni-provided amazon prime subscription to pick up the two books - you can never really go wrong with a book as a gift - and the pre-christmas/post-black-friday sales on in stores, New Look especially.  I also managed to snaffle some sliiightly less expensive Long Clothing accessories from G-market that are currently sitting waiting to be shipped on to their final destination.

I ended up getting mum some lush bath melts that went down a treat, along with some gift vouchers she can put towards pretty much anything she wants. My dad shot down all ideas for his gifts, so my sisters and I decided to put our heads together and get some tableware - all the mugs - and make some truffles.

So I think I did quite well this year, on the whole. A super pleased family is a happy, game playing family (apart from monopoly), although I think we've all had a bit too much Prosecco to be taking anything seriously anymore. Not even the 5 hour Downton Abbey Christmas special.

Oh wait - snow!

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21 Dec 2014

Christmas Baking Adventures: Mince Pies

What is a Christmas without mince pies? It's a sort of tradition in my family that we homebake at least one batch. a task usually undertaken by my little sister. This year though, in the spirit of blogmas and giving my sister a break as she tackles her essays, I thought I'd make some. 

I used the BBC good food recipe found here, an easy one that only takes an hour to make, including prep and cooking. There aren't a lot of ingredients required, hopefully all of which are in your kitchens around this time of year. 


18 Dec 2014

Home Comforts

Essay done, spell checked, edited, turned it electronically, handed in on paper. Much exhaustion, much relief. It means I've finished this semester of university and can finally allow myself to get all festive. I've bought some presents, some awesome wrapping paper from paperchase, cute boxes, tags
and writing paper for Christmas/New Year letters to my international friends. I do love a good letter.

So I'm back at home for the Christmas period, which is lovely after so much time away. I was greeted by a fully 'Christmassed' house, courtesy of my little sister, as she decorated top to bottom when she got home last week. Most of our decorations are horrifically garish, but we love them all the same, since we've had many since my sisters and I were very small. The tree got an update this year though, gifted baubles in unified colours (red, silver and gold). Dad also made my favourite of his 'secret' recipes that he's promised to give me one day: carrot cake.


16 Dec 2014

'You have to be willing to work hard to get it'

So this is probably the most un-festive song to come out this month but, aside from the fact that I do love a good bit of edm (ta, Korea), and that Avicii pretty much provided my soundtrack to the first half of this year, I really like the message.

"When I was 16 my father said that you can do anything you want with your life, you just have to be willing to work hard to get it."

I'm lucky enough to have parents that are incredibly supportive, although I haven't always seen it, they've helped me get where I am today, and help pick me up when I feel like I can't. They encourage me to fight for what I believe in, and have taught me that to get anything worth having, you have to work hard.

Which, in today's day and age, is something that I think is being forgotten.

Not to say that I don't think people work hard, because I do, I just think people have misplaced the idea that success requires a foundation being laid, and that it doesn't just happen overnight. Which isn't a bad thing either - it's motivating.

when thunder clouds start pouring down
light a fire they can't put out
carve your name into those shining stars
he said: 'go venture far beyond these shores
don't forsake this life of yours
i'll guide you home no matter where you are"

What songs have been inspiring/motivating you recently? Do you like avicii's tracks?

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13 Dec 2014

Dear UK coffee chains,

image from: japan food style
We need to have a little chat, coffee shops of the United Kingdom. Don't worry it's nothing serious, just...

I'm lamenting the fact that I have used my very last sachet of green tea latte powder I brought back with me  from Korea. Why, you ask? Because it's not a thing in here in England.

Especially not Starbucks.

Why, coffee chains of the United Kingdom, must you deprive me of the steamed soy-milky, matcha-y goodness of a green tea latte. I'd even be prepared to pay premium prices to feed this addiction that a 13 month stint the other side of the world has given me. Honest.

I wouldn't even moan.

Well. I wouldn't moan much, which is a great concession on my part! I moan about everything!

Even if it's just a seasonal drink - a red-cup christmas drink with too much whipped cream, or a summer drink with ice cubes so cold you freeze your hands - you'd make many of us with the craving for matcha ridiculously happy on a disgustingly extreme temperatured day.

So as I swirl my mug of green goodness in front of my laptop, my notes and the x-factor final, I do so with great sadness and the knowledge that if I want more to satisfy the cravings, I'll have to wait a good few weeks, suffer through elevated prices and possible import/food charges.

Thanks for not a lot, coffee shops of the UK.


places you can find me: bloglovin | instagram | twitter

12 Dec 2014

Blogmas 4 day catch up post!

Lost muse, Bagel Day, Vlogmas binge & Snow!

I've been in a bit of a creative rut these last few days, add on to that being none too well (yay winter viruses) and a bit irritable (yay interrupted sleep) and you've got a the recipe for a Discontent Fii. I don't like being in that state at all, and it only adds to my irritability and more illness as I try to be productive and disrupt my sleep schedule beyond repair. Seriously, I'm almost nocturnal.

So, other than constant essay editing (submitting it Monday), I've not been up to a spectacular amount - kind of a theme for Uni students around this time of year. Everyone else is frolicking around in the cold while I'm sat inside with a word document and an ominously blinking cursor as I try and make my 3000 (ish) word essay the best 3000-ish words it can be. When you're not feeling well this can be a bit of a chore... but at least I'm inside where it's warm and dry,

And where I have bagels.

8 Dec 2014

My 10 best exam revision tips

Exams are right around the corner, and for many students with modular exams like myself, they loom horrifically over the Christmas period. You really want to sit back and do absolutely f*ck all over the break, but the presence of them sits heavy in the back of your mind and it's stressful.

But it doesn't have to be. In my experience of sitting January exams, the times where I've panicked are the times when I don't know the course content well enough. I'll have a general idea, an overview, but my in-depth knowledge is patchy and incomplete. The times I've sat in an exam, confident and collected and ready to write are the times when I've known exactly what I was doing - and a large part of that is down to the effectiveness of my revision.

Revision is, very often, boring, time consuming and plagued by procrastination. It can be a horrific use of paper, ink and memory space - but when it comes down to it, effective revision gives good marks. And as much as you can feel that you don't want to do it and you don't care (thoughts I've had, and given in to many, many times before), when the results reflect your effort in times it really matters, it can shape your life. And by 'shape your life' I don't mean good grades = better job (because that isn't always the case at all), I mean it can help you in your working life with things like time management and organisation.

I've found that revision and revising in general can be quite a personal thing, what works for me may not work for you - but trying other people's techniques can sometimes help you find other ways to revise. It might not, and a lot of you may look at me like I'm crazy... but hey, I've done alright so far. A lot of triumphs and a couple of utter exam disasters have taught me a thing or two about effective revision vs cramming.

Ok I've waffled on long enough (am I helping you procrastinate yet?), on to the tips!


7 Dec 2014

Blogmas day 6 & 7

Most of the last two days have had me sat inside, avoiding the cold and the wet and the wind as I essay edit. So nothing much has really happened that's especially blogworthy. Other  than meeting with a friend I haven't seen in aagess last night. Much catching up to do with that girl, love her to absolute pieces. We were originally going to go into the city centre, and get some amazing pub food and chat, but that was apparently too far for our freezing selves, so we went to the student's union to eat.

photo credit: interval cafe|bar facebook 

I haven't explored my SU properly since I got back to Sheffield, which is a shame, it's been voted best SU in various polls for a couple of years straight (#humblebrag), even when it was being refurbished in my 1st year. So it was my first time setting foot in the Interval, It's a really nice space, and doesn't feel like you're in still in the union at all. Very swish, sophisticated and festively decorated for the Christmas season.

Mezze plates and side dishes were the meal of choice, which arrived in good time. I wasn't expecting anything amazing, since it's Uni food, and therefore affordable and, well, we're never really expecting much from uni food.

Sunday's been good to me, I've had some great news (which will also be great for the blog, yaayy!!!), have managed to pretty much finish this Uni semester assignment wise 11 days early, and caught up with one of my closest friends abroad. Now I get to relax, travel, relax some more, and indulge with a cup of tea, curled up on the sofa watching all my guilty-pleasure shows. Ahhhh. 

What have you been up to this weekend guys? How are you all doing? Good and not too stressed, I hope.

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6 Dec 2014

Gift ideas for Mum & Dad

My parents insist every year that they don't want my sisters and I to spend our money on them. Or at least my dad does. It kind of ties in with the fact that my older sister, my father and my younger sister all have winter-month birthdays, and it can get quite frustrating thinking of gifts for two gift-giving occasions. But this year is a big year for my parents, especially my dad - so I just can't follow through with the no-gift-giving thing,

However my parents are both really hard to shop for. We've done the 'generic' gift thing on a budget:  all the gardening books (at mum's suggestion), gardening tools (wow the motivation was real. - not.), cookbooks, humour books, mugs ... and that was just for my dad. My mum is even harder, she doesn't wear makeup or perfume, she works so much that she doesn't really get time to devote to any hobbies, and she's cut all unnecessary sugar out of her diet. It's frustrating to know that I don't really have to say much to mum or dad about gift ideas for me, they have some freaky parental intuition/sleuthing skills that are exercised and I'm never ever disappointed, but when it comes to them I feel I don't even know them as people.

So if anyone is in the same predicament as me, I hope this is a tiny bit helpful.


4 Dec 2014

Blogmas day 4: My Ultimate Xmas Wishlist

You know when there are some things you want, like, you see and you're all 'oh I'd like that', and then there are some things you really really want? Yeah, this wishlist is the latter: my Ultimate Xmas Wants. The list where, when I strike something off, it feels like I've unlocked one of those super hard achievements in games. Like, congrats, Fii, you've managed to earn that thing you've wanted since xxxx. 

So I guess this is Dear Santa? Or Dear Mum & Dad? Or just a straight up apology to my bank account. Well.


3 Dec 2014

Baking Adventures: Mug food Madness

I am obsessed with mug food right now. Completely and utterly obsessed. Not like, cup o' soups or mug shots, but the sweet treat desserts and quick fix meals that are perfect for the wintery months. I've trawled the internet for recipe after recipe, trying out the ones I especially liked the look of, with a couple of explosions and outright disasters along the way. What? Nobody's perfect.

But! Despite having to clean my microwave more regularly than I've ever had to do before, I have found some smashing recipes. Super moist, super tasty, and above all, super easy. Hardly any prep time and cooked in a few short minutes. In a microwave. No waiting around or preheating your ovens! Baked goods if you don't have an oven! Could I be using any more exclamation marks right now!?

If you're a student like me, want a quick fix mid-essay, or have just got back from a full day of lectures and the thought of cooking makes you want to curl up and cry (because we're all too poor for a takeaway), then mug food is the answer. They can be adapted to work for a range of diets too, plus you can mix up the 'extra' ingredients around the base for variety.

Basically mug food is life.

Provided you're not eating it as a substitute for meals with actual veg and protein and stuff, 'cause that wouldn't be clever.

Anyway! Recipes!


2 Dec 2014

Fairisle (ootd)

jumper: missguided
dress: ebay \ similar
boots: new look
scarf: was a christmas gift last year

I'm really sorry that my last two ootd posts haven't actually had me... wearing the outfit. I'll get that sorted for my next one, promise. Anyway, if that jumper looks familiar, you are right, I picked it up last month and am loving it. Pastel farisle patterning is how I want all my christmas jumpers. 

The dress, however, I got on ebay over 2 years ago now, and have worn exactly once before this. Mostly because I never had an occasion to, but now I am trying to think about not needing an occasion. and wearing things because I want to wear them. It's a much better mindset. The dress is a little sheer though, so I wore it with a longline vest underneath, for modesty's sake. I also can't find the exact style on ebay anymore (it has been 2 years...) but here's a similar one. I also seem to have these patent Chelsea boots permanently attached to my feet at the minute, Can't be a bad thing, they're ace. 

What were you wearing today?

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1 Dec 2014

November Haul! (Missguided, ASOS, New Look etc)

It's my first December on this space and I thought: what better way to celebrate finally getting to month 12 of 12 was to put myself under an extra amount of pressure and stress and do this year's Blogmas.

And in true Fii style, we might as well start off the new month with backtracking through the last month, because essays and awkward delivery times meant that I couldn't post this yesterday, when, you know, it was still November. But! The Xmas elves have been nice to me and so I bring you my November collective hall.

Everything in this post was bought with my own money, I'm usually between a UK 6-8 in sizing, though I tend to get an 8 because boobs (girl's, you know what I mean). All sized products in this haul are a UK size 8. Picture heavy! 

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