H O M E .      A B O U T .      C O N T A C T .      T U M B L R .      T H E   B O O K   J O U R N A L .      sailorjennie [at] gmail [dot] com

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The power of scent; an ode to Stella.

Stella by Stella McCartney*

Stella. The name of our family pup who used to sleep beside my cot and run to wake up my mother if I ever awoke in the night. Stella. Also the name of the scent I have worn during some of the most pivotal and also some of the most simple, everyday moments of my life.

Pressing my fingers up to the misty windows of the bus on morning commutes. Moving to new places. Exams. Graduating from University. When I found myself falling in love with books all over again. Wandering around supermarkets, deciding what to make for dinner. So many I love you's. Cuddles with Ralphie. A few painful goodbyes. When nerves built whilst sitting in waiting rooms. Tangled up with the scent of evening rain. Birthdays. Christmases. A couple of plane journeys. To concerts. When making bad decisions, and a few good decisions too. To remind me of home when I haven't been there physically. To remind me of who I am, who I used to be, who I can be when I haven't been present mentally. Sitting on clifftops looking out to sea. Blowing bubbles in countryside villages. Dreaming of where I want to be, and figuring out how to get there.

I have received many bottles as gifts, given almost as many as gifts. And I probably never would have discovered it if it weren't for this space on the internet where I have spent so much of my early twenties. Those important years I have spent learning what it means to be myself.

To me Stella smells like strength, vulnerability, pure unapologetic joy, painful rawness, silliness, a comforting embrace, truth, determination, confusion, a smidge of certainty and the hopeful uncertainty of all the things that are yet to come.

What is your favourite fragrance? 
What does it smell like to you? 

Monday, 7 December 2015

New York in a Few Words

Chasing the sun half across the world in a tin can with wings. I cannot get my head around plane travel. • I don't think I've ever eaten as much in a single day as on our outbound flight. From pretzels, to mini fab ice lollies, to love hearts sweeties. Top marks Virgin Atlantic. • Paying for extra legroom: 10/10 would do again. • Manic taxi rides. • Pockets of solitude nestled within the general hustle and bustle. • A cityscape of dreams hotel view. • Feeling overwhelmed at first, but soon settling into city life. • Walking fast, learning how to effectively zip in between lost tourists and food carts. • Learning to time the crossings perfectly. • Dogs in coats. • Silly purchases. • Enormous Chocolate chip pancakes. • Getting a little carried away in Strand Books. • Dodging comedy central audience finders, bus tour operators and open arms of Elmo, Mickey or a Minion. • Late night CVS snack runs. • Avoiding the subway and walking almost everywhere, soaking up city vibes. • A city that implores you to look up, and not always at the floor. • Standing at the top of the Empire State Building just after sunset. • The discovery of the little wonders that are Jolly Ranchers. • Happily taking photographs for cute families as a memento of them enjoying every second of their holiday. I hope they look back on them fondly in the years to come. • Seeing The Starry Night up close at MoMa. Magic. • Finding the New Yorker sense of self-assuredness beginning to rub off on me a little. • Finding the work of Erica Baum and Sara VanDerBeek in the Guggenheim. • The Statue of Liberty in silhouette as the sun set behind her. • Lots of smashed avocado and orange juice. • Endless possibilities. • The sound of almost perpetual car horns. • The calming pace of Central Park early on a Sunday morning. • Never once feeling unsafe. • The beautiful eeriness of quiet streets closed to traffic for the Macy's Parade. • A whistle-stop trip to Sephora. One word: overwhelming. • Back to JFK in an enormously oversized I heart NY jumper, because why the heck not? • Turbulence. Turbulence. Turbulence. • Greeted by the most beautiful sunrise I have ever seen as we came in to land in London. • So good to be home, but forever changed by six days in New York City.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Mish Mash Wishlisting!

Okay, is it possible to be behind on life? Because I think I am. It's like I've blinked and fallen back into October, but it's nearly December and I'm not getting anything done. I'm still around, but I'm going to be disappearing again for a week. An organised and put together person would have already filled you in on the details, but I am not that person at the moment. Although actually, can we just pause though and talk about Adele's new album? It might be my heightened emotional state right now, but I'm pretty sure she can see into my soul. Goes to show that even though sometimes it feels like you're alone in feeling the way you do, there's always someone else that feels the same. We're never alone. And that's comforting.

Anyway, John Lewis got in touch recently because Black Friday is fast approaching (don't even get me started on where the year has gone again). They asked me to put together a list of things I would be all over if they were in the sale, and because I needed to take my mind of things here are a few things I have my eye on and will probably buy very soon, sale or no sale. But sale would be nice, let's be honest.

Hourglass Palette. 
I know this isn't the best value for money product wise, and honestly the price tag does make my eyes water just a little, but I feel like it should be accompanied with some dramatic music as the lid opens. Palettes haven't interested me much before, I was all about accumulating lots of single things (why? I have no idea!), but I'm now beginning to see the value in a really good palette. And they're surprisingly difficult to come by. Maybe the perfect palette is tricky to get right!

A Nice Pair Of Headphones.
My cheapy headphones broke recently and it was only then that I realised that I've never had a nice pair of headphones. I go through phases of either wanting to go outside and experience all the hustle and bustle of everyday life or go outside and drown everyday life out with a good song or podcast, and I'm definitely in the latter phase right now.

A Keyboard. 
All the things I can't do, or once tried to do but gave up on along the way, have been occupying my thoughts a lot of late. Many years ago I took piano lessons at school, and I have to confess it was mostly because it meant I got to miss a maths lesson every week. Maths wasn't my favourite. When it became apparent to eight year old me that I was not an undiscovered musical genius, much to my disappointment, I quickly formed a hatred for my piano lessons on a par with my hatred for maths. But I'm now giving it another go and as much as I would love a piano, I think a keyboard might be the way to go first. Although I have no intentions of giving up this time... I'm going with the keyboard just in case.

A Graphic Tablet. 
Not necessarily for any particular reason, I've just found myself fancying being able to have a bit of a doodle and see what comes of it. 

Is there anything you would love to see in a Black Friday sale? 


I'll be back soon with lots to tell you! Thank you for always being so wonderful. There are no words to adequately describe how grateful I am. xo

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Kiko Matte Muse Lipsticks | Plushy Rose and Haughty Mauve

A surprise parcel from Kiko arrived a few weeks ago and as I wasn't too familiar with the range, I was keen to see why Kiko has become a much-loved beauty brand over recent months. I was immediately intrigued by the Matte Muse Liquid Lipsticks. Packaged in a nail polish-esque bottle, the applicator has an interesting shape and on first impressions, the colours looked really beautiful.

They have a creamy texture making them very easy to apply. Although they do dry down after a few minutes, they remain quite velvety and don't feel at all uncomfortable to wear. My lips are always a little on the dry side and I often find matte lip products difficult to work with, but I think both the texture and the finish of these is really nice. 

Kiko Matte Muse Lipsticks in Plushy Rose* and Haughty Mauve* | £6.90 each

Plushy Rose is a wearable light peach pink. It's my favourite of the two, although that's not going to be much of a surprise as you know I love this kind of shade. It's light enough to be a colour I would wear everyday and there's enough pink in there so it doesn't look too pale. The colour applies smoothly and it wears off evenly throughout the day so I don't have to worry about having splotches of colour everywhere if I don't have time to reapply.

Haughty Mauve isn't really mauve at all, on me it's really more of a raspberry shade and quite similar to my beloved Revlon Cherries in the Snow that I wore a lot a few years ago. High five if you remember those days! This shade also applies smoothly, but sometimes it can look a little streaky with just one layer. Again it also wears nicely, there's always a bit of a stain left behind at the end of the day, which looks pretty.

I'm certainly beginning to see why products from Kiko receive the praise they do.

Is there anything from Kiko that you would particularly recommend? 

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Dear November

Dear November,

Part of me anticipates your arrival each year, but this time you're bringing with you something that truly, truly scares me. It's something I can't quite bring myself to think about too much yet, let alone talk about. Actively ignoring it is something I'm becoming increasingly good at, but in under three weeks it's something I'll have to confront.

Running away has been a bit of a special talent of mine for all of my adult life and I thought that was the right thing to do. It was a way to protect myself from everything, but I had got the point where I was protecting myself from so much I was almost forgetting one of the most fundamental elements of being human, how to feel. Without sadness what is happiness? Without fear what is comfort?

And so now I believe there is value in facing fears, no matter how difficult a task it may seem to be at the time. While I may not conquer a fear this month, I hope that in directly confronting it I may end up learning something about myself. Perhaps I can be braver than I think I can be. Only time will tell.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Week in a few words #2

Thoughtful gifts. • There are few things worth waiting in a virtual queue for four hours and ending up with more expensive tickets than intended, but I'm hoping Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be. Only 291 days to wait. • Yet another new bookshelf. Oh dear. • Endless thank yous for your kind, kind words earlier in the week. • Making a promise to myself that, from now on, I'm going to try harder. At everything. Especially the things that are deeply important to me. I've been absent from my own life for much too long. • Laughing at ourselves after shouting out wrong answers whilst watching University Challenge. • And, of course, Adele's new song. Her music has been a fixture in my life since 19 in 2008 and I think her words will always be important to me.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Hello, it's me...

Let's get reacquainted, shall we? I think it's time.

So blogtober was a thing that happened... sort of. It was a thing I started but didn't finish. And for once I can say that it's not because I failed. Something didn't feel right. Pausing was a conscious decision. And I paused everything I possibly could in my life. Because this isn't just a blogging blip. I think I'm having a life blip.

The notion of being secure in the decisions one makes, having the bravery to commit to the things in life that make one truly happy, and the ability to hold on tightly to the belief that those things will lead to something fulfilling and comfortable, for me, still has a mythical aura surrounding it. And this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Nor is it something I am alone in feeling. But it is a little tricky to navigate. I feel like I'm playing a game of 'stuck in the mud'. There's no one around to come and unstick me but I haven't quite figured out how to unstick myself, which in the game is cheating, but in real life I think it's essential to learn.

With general life things up in the air, blogging has been too. All this stop start, back and forth over the last few years has really been because I was trying to fit into a space I didn't belong. Maybe I did once, and I loved it, but I don't anymore. There's no point forcing it, or wasting time wishing I could go back to being the person I was then, because I'm not that person anymore. And it's okay. It's time to discover the good things about being who I am right now. And although I'm not really sure how to start doing that, I'm going to give it a good bash.

Allowing oneself to be vulnerable is difficult. My instinct is to close off my emotions as much as possible around other people, until I can retreat to a safe place alone and let them loose. I had reached the point of feeling as though this space was a safe place, but I listened to outside voices that made me feel like all the things I was feeling were wrong, somehow invalid, and writing them here was the worst possible thing I could do. That I should stop and push them away as much as possible. But I think it's okay to be vulnerable, to be honest, and I've learnt that writing things down gives my mind a much needed rest.  

So I'm trying to reclaim this as one of my safe spaces. Thus first on the list of things to tackle was adverts. I'm not against adverts. Never have been. Never will be. Heck, I still have some. But reaching the point of adblocking my own blog was a bit of a low point for me. After a lot of emails back and forth, the full page adverts should (better bloody be!) finally be gone, once and for all.

Next on the agenda? Saying hello again..

Hello, I'm Jennie. Officially Jennifer, but that makes me feel like I'm in trouble. Not cool enough to pull off Jen.
Closer to thirty than twenty and completely okay with that.

I'm terribly short sighted; the kind that involves needing to pay extra to have my lenses thinned to stop the edges looking a little bit like the bottom of glass bottles. Unable to shake my preference for ridiculously oversized spectacles. According to my other half, the pair I'm wearing in the pictures above make me look like a '1970s Italian film director'. I took it as a compliment because, well, why wouldn't I?! Brilliant.

I'm an only child, right handed, and many would describe me as shy but I don't think that's quite the right fit. I am however certainly one of the most introverted introverts there can be. And that's sort of funny because I am endlessly intrigued by other people and their stories.

I'm not the easiest person to get to know because I always feel so silly talking about myself.
Although I do have this blog. Writing things down is infinitely easier than talking.

I have been a complicated person to know. And that's different from complex. We are all complex with our quirks and unique nuances. Complicated is difficult and I understand now that it's tricky to be friends with someone who sometimes drifts into a world of their own for weeks on end. But I'm striving to lead a simpler, more present existence and I hope, in time, that will attract some new, stable friendships. The company of friends outside my family is something I sorely miss, and I'm not really sure where to start.

My school reports always used to say 'Jennifer must participate more in class'.
But Jennifer never did. Partly stubbornness (not my best trait, I'm working on it) and partly because I had an irrational fear that I'd be laughed at if I got the answer wrong.

I'm happy to report I don't mind being wrong now. And I don't really feel embarrassed too often. Being willing to laugh at myself has been one of the single most freeing revelations I've had.

That's not to say I don't have things that embed themselves within my heart and hurt a little. I certainly do. Although they're few and far between right now and I'm eternally grateful for that.
And those things that are able to hurt me, I push them away and ignore them as much as I can.
That's not necessarily the best way to deal with things, I know. Especially when those actions inadvertently end up hurting someone else's feelings.

Never have I felt more comfortable in my own skin.
The way my nose sits a little wonky on my face? Not horrid, but interesting. Those seemingly perpetual blemishes on my chin? No big deal.
But that's not to say that there aren't things I'm working on changing.
I'm striving to be more generous, more informed and less inclined to fall into my self built comfort zone that I can quickly become reluctant to leave.

For the last four-ish years I have lived in the countryside on the doorstep of some of the most beautiful views I've ever seen. Note to self, appreciate them more.
Before that I lived by the seaside.
And Oh how I miss the sea, the salty air and the pine trees.
Moving to Scotland is up there on my list of life goals. Hopefully somewhere close to the ocean again.

Recently I gave up tea because I was pretty concerned for my teeth.
The headaches that would develop if I didn't have a cup every few hours weren't great either.
Fun fact, I've never really liked tea that much. 

The truest, most authentic sense of joy I feel comes with writing and taking photographs.
When I was nineteen I was accepted to Edinburgh College of Art to study photography.
With such small classes, that is still one of my greatest achievements to date.
Unfortunately I had to give up my place to be with my family, and somewhere along the different path I took I convinced myself that it wasn't for me anyway.
But I was wrong.
Film photography makes my heart sing like almost nothing else, and I'm making a promise to myself to shoot more pictures much more frequently. 

I believe that life is for learning.
Discovering new things. Enjoying old loves. Being with people who make you happy.

A few weeks ago I got my degree certificate in the post. (I skipped the ceremony.)
I now officially have a BA (Hons) English Language & Literature from the Open University.
It took me a little longer after a few false starts at 'regular universities'. But I got there in the end.
It was totally worth it.
I will forever champion the wonder that is the Open University, and how much it does to encourage its students and champion education for all regardless of circumstance. I hope it will continue.

Rinko Kawauchi's work has been a constant source of inspiration for almost ten years. 

♥ Lost in Translation. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The Breakfast Club. Ten Things I Hate About You.

♫ Banks. Nirvana. Adele. Amy Winehouse. Florence and the Machine. Sia. The Civil Wars. Lana Del Rey. Zero 7. The White Stripes. Sampha. Leon Bridges. The Libertines.

The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara is perhaps the novel that has had the biggest impact on me in my adult life. I haven't felt quite this way about a book since Harry Potter

Concepts and theories surrounding high literature aren't hugely important to me. If a book, poem, play, whatever form it takes, makes me feel something, whether that's happiness, devastation, the warm fuzzies in the pit of my stomach, that's what I'm looking for.

My television loves are still firmly with the Nickelodeon shows I watched as a kid. Sister Sister showed me how valuable family is, Kenan and Kel the beauty of friendship, and Sabrina that even magic can't solve everything.

Sailor Jerry rum was the inspiration for my online presence, sailorjennie.

Everyone has at least one special talent, of that I am sure. I'm fairly convinced that mine is sleeping. I can sleep any time, anywhere, even if I'm not tired.

Getting caught up in the details isn't important right now. And that's sometimes difficult for me, but I'm learning to seek out and appreciate the value that lies within the bigger picture.
Because there are an infinite amount of details. And the bigger picture is a whole that seems easier to tackle right now.

Forever finding myself looking up at the sky. Especially the night sky. Watching milky peach hues gradually change to the clearest blue, before everything darkens and the stars come out to say hello. True beauty.
I like to believe that our souls drift skywards when it is time for them to leave our bodies.
Maybe we'll go on to form black holes, or simply drift for eternity with a sense of blissful contentment. But that is for another time. Another existence.
For now I'm constantly learning what it means to be human.

Planes, going to the dentist and large spiders are the silly things I'm afraid of.
Some of the bigger things are being completely alone, leaving this planet before my mother, and being unable to have a child.

I wish for everyone to be able to live as their truest self. Not to me, no one owes me anything. But I hope everyone is able to be honest with themselves. Everyone deserves their best chance. 

I used to operate solely in dream form. It was like I was disconnected from reality and my mind was firmly in the future living an alternate life.
Although I believe in the power of dreams, laying down the groundwork to allow oneself to reach those dreams one day, alongside living in the moment is essential.

I've learnt that it's not silly to seek out good things, no matter how inconsequential. That beautiful sunrise. That really great piece of cake. The bus arriving early. That silly conversation with someone important. All of those things do matter.

Happiness used to come from surrounding myself with things, just so I could feel like there was something there that I owned.
But now it comes from elsewhere and that's comforting.

I am enough. You are enough. We are all enough.

Hello, I'm Jennie. 
It's wonderful to meet you. 

Tell me something about yourself? 
I'd love to hear from you.  


Saturday, 10 October 2015

Week in a few Words. | Blogtober #10

Making a dream catcher with a kit from Effie Box. • Joy from mundane journeys. • Singing (okay, maybe meowing) along to Dexys Midnight Runners in the car. • Midnight book purchases. • Hot chocolate. • Aurora borealis spotting. • Unsuccessful glasses shopping - so many different pairs, but they're mostly all the same. • Great British Bake Off Finale - so many happy tears for Nadiya. • Lana Del Rey's new album. • Finding a pair of jeans that fit and aren't uncomfortable. It's nice to have pockets again. • Inventing what I eventually called 'the dark matter dance' whilst watching The Sky At Night after too much sugar and making my boyfriend laugh at me. • Accidentally signing off an email with 'Best Wizards' instead of 'Best Wishes'. Tempted to go with 'Best Wizards' from now on... •

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