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

Monday, 31 August 2015

Ten Minutes With Loved By Laura

Before we begin today, just a quick note to say thank you so much for such sweet and supportive comments on my last post. You guys are the best! But now, back to business.

Laura from Loved By Laura has to be one of the sweetest ladies in the bloggersphere right now and she was kind enough to answer a few of my questions over the weekend, so I really hope you get to know her a little better today!
Which three words would you use to best describe your blog?
Is it cheating to say Loved by Laura? That's it in a nutshell!

What prompted you to start your blog, and are there any posts you're super proud of? 
I'd been in somewhat of a funk. I had a close knit group of friends but as babies and other responsibilities came into the mix is became harder to get together. When we did manage it, talk often centred around motherhood, something I'm not quite ready for yet. I really missed being able to have a properly girly chat about the simple, uncomplicated things in life that still interest me, like the latest beauty discovery, a new recipe or a fitness class I'd tried, or even to be able to say 'hey, anyone free this afternoon?' and be off having a little adventure within two hours!

I'd been reading other people's blogs for years so eventually I plucked up the courage to start my own. It's probably the best decision I've ever made!

Through my blog I've discovered this whole amazing, supportive community that I never knew existed and have been lucky enough to make some firm friends 'in real life' as a result of it all too. My friends 'before blogging' have been very understanding and encouraging about it; I now consider myself lucky enough to have two awesome circles of friends.

I'm proudest of the posts which have helped people, whether it's how to make custom URLs in Blogger, a kitchen hack or how to make a really impressive looking meal that's actually really simple! Here are a few of my favourites:

Name three things that have made you happy recently.
  1. I went to see my parents on Sunday and was surprised at the door by two adorable new puppies who nearly bowled me over. My parents lots their 14 year old dog a few months back and it was great to see these two balls of mischief making them smile again. Plus playing with puppies is up there on the list of ideal days for me!
  2. The return of the Great British Bake Off. I actually wake up thinking 'ooh it's Wednesday: Bake Off tonight!' 
  3. I just found out that I got shortlisted in the #bloggersblogawards Up & Coming Lifestyle category. I'm completely over the moon right now and still can't quite believe it. 

Your recipe posts never fail to make me feel incredibly hungry! What is your favourite think to make and your favourite thing to eat?
Oh thank you! Hands down the most fun thing I make is duffins, which are a cross between doughnuts and muffins. They are so easy to make and you get covered in butter and sugar. The only thing is I can't make them too often as they are literally butter and sugar!

I love to eat anything made by my husband. Not only does he make some killer dishes, but food tastes so much better when someone else has gone to the effort for you.

You're hosting a dinner party and you've invited three people you really admire. Tell us a little about them and why they inspire you. 
  1. Rich Roll - I listened to his book Finding Ultra a while back, which documents his journey from obesity to ultra marathon/iron man success. He's an amazing inspiration of what can be achieved if you only decide to take that first step. 
  2. Mary Berry - I'll be honest here, I just want to chat to her about food! 
  3. Angelina Jolie - I know she's not everyone's cup of tea, but I really admire her for doing exactly as she wants to and not being afraid to change as she grown into herself. I bet she has some amazing stories to tell... 

Name your three favourite beauty products of the moment. 

What does your perfect weekend look like? 
Saturday would be some kind of fun day out with my girlfriends; maybe an activity of some kind or a bit of pampering before putting the world to rights over great food and a cheeky cocktail or two. Sunday would be a lay in with my hubby and the cats, brunch, a bit of baking and then movies. If I can stay in PJs all day, even better!

If you could only keep 5 possessions, what would they be and why? 
Assuming that pets/people don't count (because they'd always come first!):

My wedding ring, phone, laptop, Vitamix and camera. So basically ALL gadgets that keep me blogging!

- Quick Fire Round -

Are you an early bird or a night owl?

Sweet or savoury? 

Summer or winter?

Currently listening to?
Jenny Purr's Make It Happen Podcasts - so inspiring

Currently watching?
Lots - I'm a bit of a TV and movie junkie! Pretty Little Liars / Agent Carter / True Detectives to name a few

Currently reading? 
Nothing! I've been struggling to get into anything recently. All suggestions welcome, I need a big epic novel/series to get stuck into...

Your three favourite blogs of the moment? 
There are SO many to choose from, but I always love these!

Cider with Rosie - she's just got married and I've loved reading about how she's settling into married life, just as much as the run up to the wedding
The Elle Next Door - Ellie is hilarious and the only youtuber I regularly tune in to watch
Style Lingua - whether it's fashion, travel or general musings I always love reading what Carolin has to say

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Friday, 28 August 2015

On Blogging, Feeling a bit Lonely & Forming Connections

Somewhere I lost sight of the sparkle that beamed whenever I was doing something blog related. It wasn't the layout. It wasn't my failed attempts to use social media adequately. It was the life curation. Editing out the meh bits sounds so brilliant, but in trying to pretend everything was fabulous all the time I forgot to let myself feel sad. Or overwhelmed. Or confused. Reader surveys told me 'woe is me posts' were awful. They weren't intended to read in that way. I wasn't a great writer back then, not that I am now, but I wasn't in a good place. It turns out, despite me thinking I can process everything in a fairly rational way so thoughts become almost entirely unimportant within a few minutes, not having some kind of outlet, a place to talk freely as and when things pop into my head isn't great. 'In real life' I'm a quiet person. I don't necessarily talk about how I'm feeling or what's going on. That's not to say I don't understand those comments. I totally do. You've had a really bloody long day at school/work/the beck and call of small children and you just want to read about beauty, look at a gorgeous outfit, or bookmark the best looking cake recipe you've ever seen in the hopes that you'll have enough time to try and recreate it one day soon. You don't want a window into someone's existential crisis.

With so many stunning blogs that have very focused and consistent posts, I'm almost entirely convinced you don't choose to stop by sailboat to see those things. Because I'm not focused. And I'm not consistent. But I am a bit lonely. Connecting with people isn't something that comes easily to me. Very recently the spectacular Tori has come into my life. We're similar in many ways. But she has this incredible ability to connect with people and make them feel like they're the most important person in the world as she's speaking to them, or listening intently to what they have to say. And I know that because that's exactly how she makes me feel. That's an intrinsic and very organic part of her nature. And somehow I've found myself exchanging lengthy emails with someone I've only known exists for a week, because I took a leap and actually said something without automatically assuming no one would care or be able to relate. To be honest it's been a bit of a revelation and I can't thank Tori enough for rebooting a little part of me I feared might have shut down forever. 

There's no danger of me going for the 'laying absolutely everything out for the world to see' thing. There's no intention to dump all of my earthly concerns or burdens on to you. But in between the beauty posts (because I still bloody love make up), or wishlists (because I still bloody love looking at pretty things), monthly lifestyle favourites (because I still bloody love weird things), or things that make me happy posts (because I still bloody love being happy as often as possible and appreciating the little things!) there may be more general musings. If they're vague they're not cryptic, they're just imperfect, unfinished thoughts that may once have been scribbled down on the back of a napkin and lost forever, or worse, lodged at the back of my mind forever being dwelt upon, that I'm noting down in order to hopefully approach them in a more objective way.

They won't always be particularly important. Will I ever eat oats for breakfast, or is toast just my thing forever? Or sad. This really hurts, do you know what will make me feel better? Or serious, because sometimes they'll just be plain silly. Is it possible to go through life without having to iron anything? People keep telling me I should at least own an iron, but I think that sounds like a bit of a slippery slope! And if you're ever feeling something similar, maybe we can connect and try and figure it out together? A problem shared is a problem halved. Not always the case, but sometimes another perspective, another mind with a different way of processing thoughts can open minds to something completely new and previously unfathomable.

Hello, my name is Jennie.
Would you like to be friends?

Banks -  This Is What It Feels Like 

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P.S. Please welcome my 'All Aboard' partner for August, Loved by Laura
And please also say hello to Emilia Leigh and Laugh with me LeLe

Thursday, 27 August 2015

On My Desk

Moving furniture around is something I find myself doing more than is necessary. It's usually something I start doing at around 10pm and by 1am I'm wishing I hadn't started. It always takes longer than expected. But most of the time I like the change and don't end up moving everything back to where it was before the next day.

During this particular shuffle around, my desk has now found a new home (you can see how it looked before here) in front of the window. I don't get to look at my photograph wall anymore but the extra light is brilliant and I can see a little patch of countryside in the distance if I look in between and over the rooftops of surrounding houses. The fields are a mixture of green and golden at the moment and it'll be nice to see them change with the seasons. It's no sea view, but it's not too shabby.

Please excuse the creases in the curtains. I just got them and I'm waiting for the creases to drop out by themselves because I'm allergic to ironing. They're fairly weighty so it shouldn't take too long. Good old ikea. They're the Ingert in dark grey and they're only £35, which for curtains I didn't think was too bad. Gosh, that might just be the most boring sentence I've ever typed. I do love a good soft furnishing though. I think that's how you measure when you're becoming a real adult. 

In addition to holding a plethora of 'things I keep on hand because they might be handy' like stickers, tape and glasses cleaner, Mortimer is my number one desk buddy. He's also rocking a cocktail umbrella because he's always ready to party. Next to him is the crystal goblet I got the last time I went to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. It was ridiculously expensive, but it's proving to be very useful. In there I have some hairbands, a £5 note for if I ever fancy nipping over to the shop for emergency snacks at 3 in the afternoon, a tinted lip balm and a little worry doll I've had for years but have no idea where she came from.

Similarly a desk is not my desk without a cup of tea. The mug is one I've had since I was very small that I recently uncovered in an box of old things. I hope I don't accidentally break it, but it seemed a shame to put it back in the box where it would sit unused forever. And it's bunnykins. Too cute.

The Treacle Moon bath & shower gel is there because I just got it and it smells almost exactly like the smell I smelt the first time a cup of butterbeer was handed to me. Very sweet. Absolutely bloody brilliant! Unequivocally the best shower gel ever.

I still have my much loved desk tidy from Rocket St George but it lives on the top of one of my little bookshelves now and if I stretch I still don't even have to leave my seat to reach it so that's a bit of a result. In its place I dug out one of my old acrylic paper sorters that I got from Homebase a long time ago and it houses most of my blushes and lip products.

Other than that I just have a couple of plants, one of them looks a bit sad but I'm trying to save him, a monthly calendar that I don't use nearly enough, a butterbeer tankard filled with pens, highlighters and delightfully hideous paperclips with faces, and my trusty desk lamp.

On My Desk, with links where I can find them...
White Desk
Ikea Dark Grey Curtains
• Homebase Acrylic Paper Sorter
• Gold Star Candle Stick Holder from Rockett St George
Ikea Floral Plant Pot
Skull Desk Tidy*
Noble Collection Crystal Goblet
Treacle Moon Marshmallow Hearts Bath and Shower Gel
Orla Kiely Plant Pot
Desk Lamp
Busy B Monthly Calendar

Do you have a desk space you like to work from?

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P.S. Please welcome my 'All Aboard' partner for August, Loved by Laura
And please also say hello to Emilia Leigh and Laugh with me LeLe

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

What's in my bag?

Cross body bags are the best. No faffing around with something constantly falling off my shoulder. Nothing hanging off my elbow that I may accidentally hit other people with as I'm walking past. I'm all about the hands free, don't even know I'm carrying anything life. And as far as affordable cross body bags go, this one from Miss Selfridge isn't bad. The strap is long enough for my 5'10 long-bodied frame, which is a small miracle in itself and although it's not my preferred colour of black, it's neutral enough to work with my wardrobe.
Miss Selfridge Cross Body Bag* | £15

As for what's inside, well, I was pretty impressed with how much comfortably fits inside with a bit of possession tetris, although none of it is particularly interesting... 

• Coin purse
• Mini notebook for lists galore
• Brilliantly tacky lipstick pen
• My trusty Nokia
• Mirror
• Little bit of cash for emergency sweets or something!
• Lily Lolo Lipgloss
• Dior Lipgloss
• I Love...Raspberry & Blackberry body spray
• Hand gel

I'm not sure why more than one lipgloss is necessary but it could definitely be a lot worse. I'm sure at one point I had at least 7 lip products in my bag at any given time. Please excuse my brick of a phone. I'm not into smart phones, this one has snake and the battery lasts 2 weeks at a time so it works for me!

Do you somehow end up with multiple lip products in your bag?

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P.S. Please welcome my 'All Aboard' partner for August, Loved by Laura
And please also say hello to Emilia Leigh and Laugh with me LeLe

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Today's To-Do List!

Take an absurdly long bubble bath.

Attempt to read something. After finishing A Little Life I've been completely unable to read anything because I keep thinking about it so much. Hopefully some Harry Potter will bring me back into the reading world this afternoon!

Put up our new lampshade. Turns out lampshade reducers are a thing and I needed one to allow me to hang the shade I ended up buying. You learn something new everyday, eh?!

Reply to the wonderful comments I receive on my posts so consistently. As I was finishing off the last assignment of my degree I got really behind. Really, really behind. Months behind. I'm not sure I'll ever catch up, so I hope it's okay if I start here and work backwards knowing that I might not reach the beginning any time soon?

Silly dance when dusting and hoovering the house. Who says cleaning can't also be fun?

Look into graphics tablets. Wacom seem to be consistently highly reviewed. Have you ever tried one, if so what do you think?

Try to fit in some work somewhere. I've moved my desk in front of the window and I can see a patch of countryside if I look between the houses. It's both distracting and motivating. Distracting because it's so beautiful, and motivating because if I work harder maybe one day there won't have to be any other houses in the way of my view!

Happy Sunday! 
Do you have any plans?

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P.S. Please welcome my 'All Aboard' partner for August, Loved by Laura
And please also say hello to Emilia Leigh and Laugh with me LeLe