Things I'm loving this week

Inspired by this blog from my very good friend Billi, and in the hopes it will boost my shameful lack of blog posts, here is my lovingly ripped off (to quote Eric Idle) list of things that are making me smile this week.

This week I'm mostly wearing: my Dorothy Perkins snake print skirt. I actually bought this thinking it was leopard print (the website just lists it as 'animal', which could mean anything) but loved it so much when it finally arrived that I kept it. Snake print is set to be a big trend this season, and I can see why - it's similar to leopard in that it works in lots of different colours, but is much more wearable in items like dresses and skirts depending on the closeness and colour of the pattern - I've always found leopard much easier to wear in small doses and that it only really works with black or red, but snake seems to have much more potential. Plus, crucially for me, the skirt is a great shape - nice fitted waist, sits right on me so I can reach into the pockets, and finishes just above my knee, so it's fine for work as well as for going out.

This week I'm mostly listening to: podcasts. I have a ton on my iPod and need to get up to speed with them, so am making an effort to listen to them much more, particularly when travelling and whilst getting ready in the morning. I have a fair few I listen to regularly but my current favourite is one produced by called Stuff You Missed In History Class. Basically, it's snippets of history spanning every time period and topic you could wish for, and going into more detail about those areas you sort-of know a bit about but where you don't have much more to go on than the basic facts. Even for a hard-core history nerd like myself you're normally guaranteed to learn something you didn't know before, or extend your knowledge on a topic that you have a passing interest in. Plus the podcasts come in nice bite-size chunks so you can fit them into a short journey like a morning commute or a walk into town.

This week I'm mostly watching: As always, a lot of How I Met Your Mother. I was late to the party on this, mainly because I didn't know it existed and that it was good until about a year ago due to the channels that had it not knowing what to do with it, but now I've found it I absolutely adore it. For those who haven't watched E4 in the last year and therefore never seen a trailer for it, it follows the story of Ted, a New York architect who embarks on the search for Miss Right after his friends Lily and Marshall get engaged. It has been mentioned as 'the new Friends' in some circles, and this may be an opinion coloured by years of Friends repeats,but I personally think it's better - there is much more of a long-term narrative feel to it and there's a slightly quirky, silly thing about the humour which appeals to me. I absolutely love it.

This week I'm mostly eating: homemade French toast. Now I love toast, toasty toasty toast*, but this is my current favourite snack to curl up with on the sofa when watching telly. Basically it's toast spread with a mix of butter, sugar and cinnamon - very very bad for you, but seriously tasty. Give me that plus a huge mug of hot chocolate or tea (at the moment I'm loving the Tea Palace's Mulled Spice blend which goes perfectly with the cinnamon) and something brilliantly trashy to watch, and I am a happy bunny.

* Props to Ron Burgundy.
This week I'm mostly reading: The Hell Of It All by Charlie Brooker. I must confess I am a latecomer to the Brooker bandwagon - since he got on Channel 4 he seems to have toned it down an awful lot, whereas before I always found him too aggressive. But I did always find him funnier in print than on TV, and this book - a Christmas gift from my best mate and a collection of his columns for the Guardian - brilliantly encapsulates his style, which is basically ranty with the odd well placed swear word and, whilst not laugh out loud funny, will generally cause a few chuckles (I particularly enjoyed the one about the BNP election broadcast). Possibly not a book to read in public, but if you're in a slightly grumpy mood about the world then I'd recommend this for both agreement and amusement. And it's nice to know that, for a comedian who I always found a bit "I'm better than everything and modern life is rubbish", he does have some guilty TV pleasures.

A door has closed and windows have opened.

So, last week I took a step so huge on my journey to London that I feel like a giant (which is not an inconsiderable feat when you're only 5'2"). It came up totally out of the blue, during a normal Thursday afternoon in the office, and a conversation regarding my current contract which is due to end in March. The possibility of a contract extension was raised, I obviously must have looked torn - which I was - and within minutes it was settled: I had eight weeks left in my current job.

I'm not going to lie - I am absolutely terrified. It's never been a secret at work that I've wanted to move to London and was simply here until someone said yes - although I should stress I don't mean that in an ungrateful way in the slightest - but up until a few days ago it's been this vague abstract thing that was going to happen at some point and suddenly it's real and I'm filling out termination forms and teaching colleagues how to update the website and all the rest of it. I haven't exactly had the best reactions to the news from my nearest and dearest either, despite playing it down (although my boyfriend is absolutely over the moon - no surprise there). Which is totally understandable; they're my family, after all, and I know they'd hate to think of me stuck in an awful temp job - or worse, with no job at all - when I could stay at home, live rent-free and keep saving for my future. Plus it feels like there's a lot of unspoken pressure on me to get this right, because I almost feel But my feet have been itching for a while now, and whilst I'm fully aware it's not going to be easy I'm ready to move on and start my own life.
That said, I have thrown myself into job hunting with gusto, and have started thinking about what I might want to do with myself. Quite a few decent-looking jobs have cropped up, admittedly with the odd annoying quirk (a brilliant job for a travel company - on the other side of London, boo!) and one which I would love to get but secretly don't think I stand a chance, as well as a few other things I'm pretty confident I could do despite the relatively high salaries. However, whilst I've always loved writing and I know I'll keep doing it in some capacity, I've been wondering if maybe I should look elsewhere for a career based on what I know I'm good at. A lot of my current role has revolved around effectively being a PA to the Head of Department - handling her calls and emails, managing her diary, prepping documents for meetings, sorting out travel and hotel arrangements and generally keeping the office afloat - so I'm wondering . I have put in for a PA job that sounds really great but again don't know if I'd get it due to not having the words 'PA' specifically on my CV, although I've done the job in all but name. But we'll see.

It's the first step on a very long road, but at least now I can actually see where I'm going...

Beauty Review: 17 High Gloss Nail Polish in Poncho Pink

One of the things I wanted to do this year was to take care of myself properly - eat better, drink more water, take regular exercise, buy decent skincare etc. To my mind, that also includes the occasional bit of pampering.

I am the first to admit that as a child and a teenager, I was a major tomboy; it was all jeans and trainers (think B*Witched chic, oh the shame!), action figures and video games, Indiana Jones and James Bond. However, in the past two or three years, I've discovered my girly side. Granted it isn't full blown yet - I highly doubt I'm ever going to get that far - but in terms of things like wearing skirts and dresses, and styling my hair properly and putting on make-up, I'm definitely getting there. Part of this endeavour was to wear nail polish more, and to try different shades and styles including a bit of nail art when I feel slightly braver! However, I have chosen to ease myself in gently with this one - 17 Poncho Pink, with Nails Inc Harley Street base and Seche Vite top coat:


Apologies for the smudges and the slightly cack-handed application (I normally do my nails at night and let the shower tidy them up), but for a first go I don't think it's too bad. I like the colour - it's a bit more of a candy pink when it's on but has a slight pearly sheen to it which I like - but the quality of the polish is a bit rubbish, I only put it on last night and there are already a few chips and knocks :( However I don't know if that's because the polish is quite old.

So what do we think?

An update on my 2011 goals

Once again, apologies for my terribly shoddy posting rate - I will do better, I promise!

So, as some of you may remember, at the end of last year I posted a blog about things I wanted to achieve or to do in 2011, and I thought it would be good to post monthly updates in order to help myself keep track of how things are progressing...

Learning to drive
OK, I admit this one has made no progress, but that's because I need to replace my driving licence after losing it on my university campus some years ago, and am not sure whether to wait until I've moved to London or just get it now, although I'm thinking waiting until I've moved and have a permanent-ish address down there is probably the best move. Plus by the time I'd got a licence, even if I applied for it now, I might well have moved anyway and therefore it makes sense to wait to start lessons until the spring. So this one's kind of on hold at the moment, but I have a plan in place.

Moving to London
Again, still in motion - there has been talk of my contract being extended again, which would require some serious thinking about what to do next, but otherwise it's all on track. Sadly it's looking increasingly unlikely I'll go down there with a job, but that's OK. I think to be honest I've reached a point where I'm just ready to be there now and the job thing is something I'll sort out when I get there, although I am going to keep applying for anything interesting that comes up between now and then.

Dream job
I've been applying to stuff but have only had one interview and didn't get it, which I was gutted about at the time but now am actually OK with. But I'm going to keep applying, and to possibly widen the net a little to get myself a decent starter job as a PA or similar. I'm also planning to try and get some more copywriting work experience and am hoping the IPA copy test will run again to have a bash at that. So that's making progress. albeit rather slowly.

£10k in the bank
I've upped the ante on this a bit by including competition winnings and profits from selling stuff online to the total, and so far I'm close on £5700. Which isn't loads, granted, but it could be a lot worse. Obviously this could well be the calm before the storm of being unemployed and dipping into the pot to support myself, which I really hope I don't have to do, but so far so good.

Doing more exercise
Um, yeah, that. I did start well, then just got fed up of it and have fallen off the wagon again, apart from dancing round my room most evenings. I am however trying to work more exercise into my daily routine in terms of things like walking, because I just think that's going to be the only way for me to do it - it has to become a habit, and it has to be relatively easy and enjoyable. I have also just ordered a swimming costume online so am determined to go to the pool this weekend and get the use out of it!

Sorting out my style
I have bought bright scoop neck tops, so that is something, as well as a few other bits like shirts, and have some ideas for things I want to add to my wardrobe. On the skincare front, whilst I haven't tried any new products I have noticed a definite improvement, so am going to keep going for a bit longer - I think it's generally about six weeks of having the same routine before you can tell if it's made a difference. I've also started getting into nail polish, which I'll blog about later this week.

Watching more films and box sets
The film thing, I admit, is failing miserably, although I will watch one tonight to attempt to start making up for it. Box sets are progressing a bit better, I'm currently halfway through season two of How I Met Your Mother and four episodes in with True Blood, and am really enjoying both. So this one is a bit mixed at the moment.

Reading more
I'm currently on my sixth book this year - World Without End by Ken Follett, for those who are interested - so well ahead of my book a week target, although I must admit so far it's been more trash than 'proper' novels. But I've got plenty of those to hand for when I finish the books in my to-read pile.

Using up toiletries
I've used up three things this month - two body creams and a body scrub - which frankly in my uber-stash isn't much, and I do admit I caved to the Body Shop sale and the Lush Valentine's Day range. But I've got a couple of things which are on their way out, so am optimistically hoping for another three or four things off the list by next month. It's getting there!

Dying my hair red
There is a block of henna in my room calling my name, but I am too much of a wuss to do it in case I hate the colour it ends up. I also feel like I can't be bothered with the faff of sectioning my hair and all the rest of it, so this one might have to wait until I've got someone to help me with it. But I'm determined to do it, just so I can say I did.

So, in general, most of my goals are so far going pretty well - I'm only a month in after all, so there's plenty of time yet, but hopefully next month I'll be able to provide an equally positive update, and hopefully more so.