29 Jan 2015

Monthly Favourites Playlist: January 2015

I started making monthly favourites playlists a few months ago. I'm the kind of person who constantly seems to be on the hunt for new music, just songs that I can fall and love with and jam to until I get sick of them. Some of these songs are new to everyone, some are new to me and others are old favourites that I got back into recently. I like the idea of people listening to these and maybe finding something new that they really like. So, here it is, the first playlist of 2015!!

1. If I Could Change Your Mind - HAIM // 2. Can't Stop Dancin' - Becky G // 3. Novocaine - Fall Out Boy // 4. Falling - HAIM // 5. Tightrope - WALK THE MOON // 6. A Little Opus - Little Comets // 7. Bo$$ - Fifth Harmony // 8. Uma Thurman - Fall Out Boy // 9. Sun Goes Down (feat. Jasmine Thompson) - Robin Schulz // 10. Last All Night (Koala) [feat. KStewart] - Oliver Heldens


22 Jan 2015

Free Printable Birthday Cards!

The holiday season is over, the new year has come and one of the things that means is: birthdays. Now we all get to start fresh and begin a new round of celebration. Birthdays in my family start in late January, so I thought I'd make some of my own cards and share them! They're very simple with a watercolour texture, and I made five different colours to suit any birthday occasion.

What you'll need:
  • A4 card or thick photo paper. I used 250gsm glossy photo paper, which I think has a really nice professional effect.
  • Scissors
  • A butterknife or scoring knife
  • A ruler
  • A printer (duh)
What to do:
  1. Download the card you want from the links below.
  2. Put your card or photo paper in your printer and adjust the print and paper settings accordingly.
  3. After your printout has dried, cut out around the card. Cut on the inside of the grey lines to get rid of them and make it look cleaner.
  4. Place your ruler alongside the centre dotted lines and take your butterknife or scoring knife. Use the blunt edge and run the knife along the line. This will make it easier to fold.
  5. Gently fold along the line using the subtle crease you just made.
  6. Trim off any overhanging bits if there are any.
  7. DONE!!
I hope you guys like these! If you end up using them, I would love it if you tagged me on Instagram or Twitter (both @laurenies) and show me your results! Have fun!


Credit where credit is due:

16 Jan 2015

Favourites Friday

A handful of things that I have been loving a crazy amount and would whole-heartedly recommend to anyone.

1 - OPI nail polish in Care to Danse? // 2 - sunglasses from Rubi Shoes // 3 - Decomposition Book in Blueberry // 4 - Essie nail polish in Marshmallow // 5 - HAIM's album Days Are Gone // 6 - hard  pretzels // 7 - Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette // 8 - The Office US // 9 - ELLE Australia


10 Jan 2015

Top Seven Books of 2014

I've been seeing a fair amount of "Top 14 Books of 2014" posts around, and I read a quite a bit last year so I actually have some to contribute this time round! Most of the books I read were part of a series or were for uni, so I halved it down to seven books like the mathematical genius I am. I wanted to be sure that everything on this list were things that I really really enjoyed. So here they are, in no particular order:

The Fire Eaters by David Almond

The first young adult book on the list is one that I read for uni (Children's Literature was one of my units of study this year, which would explain the amount of it). It's about a young boy living in a small coastal village in England during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It's quite a small read, but it's also captivating, making it very easy to get through. Despite that, there is a great deal handled in this tiny thing, like school life and family struggles, all mixed in with the futility of the Cold War, an obvious bonus for modern history buffs. I was very pleasantly surprised. Thanks, uni.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Another book I ended up reading for uni, which I would have eventually picked up regardless. Even just from this one volume you get a sense of what a phenomenal woman Angelou was, and it only spans her experiences up to age seventeen. Incredible. It's confronting and shocking, but as a white girl living in the early 21st century, it taught me about a level of inequality that I could never experience or properly understand. Maya Angelou inspires so many people, and it's easy to see why. 

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is one of those author's whose works I've looked at and thought "yep, I should read those," and damn was I right to. It follows the quest of a young man to retrieve a falling star in order to win the heart of the girl he loves (or at least thinks he loves. Come on, you know how these things work). The prose is beautiful and it pulls you right through the twist of a love story and the growth of the characters in a magical world like that of a fairytale. Everyone and their dog has probably read this, but anyway, I did also and I loved it.

Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men by Derek Landy

This is the eighth book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series, so just view this as a not-so-sneaky way of me trying to get you to read the whole thing. It may be a kid's series, but that shouldn't be a reason for dismissal, what with it being centered around a walking, talking Irish skeleton and his teenage companion and total BFF Valkyrie Cain as they solve magical crimes and try to stop the world from ending about a hundred times. It's witty, there's action and the characters are all works of art in themselves. The series gets darker as it progresses, but only to it's credit. I love these books so much that I'm re-reading them after only a year. I devour these things. As I've been saying for quite a while now: "just trust me and read it".

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve

Another book I read for class, my first thought was that it didn't look like my cup of tea at all (I mean, look at that cover, it raises some questions). But I got past that and found that it was actually really enjoyable. The concept is that of dystopian 'Municipal Darwinism', where cities, towns and villages are all mechanised post-war and roam around on the land on which they once stood, with the goal of trying to consume each other in order to remain functioning. We follow Tom, a working class boy from London, as he uncovers a conspiracy and ends up questioning the system of living that he once loved so dearly. It's very clever, and also quite funny (the characters repeatedly refer to a CD as a "seedy"). It's the first book of a series, so if you do end up loving it, there's always more.

Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates

Another piece of non-fiction, as well as my first foray into feminist literature. Laura Bates has done a stunning job, not only reading through thousands of posts and entries of personal experiences of sexism, but also conducting interviews and adding statistics to make a undeniably convincing point: sexism still exists all around us on a subtle level that most of us don't even question, let alone know is there. Reading it made me angry, but in a good way, a way that hopefully will encourage people to band together and put a stop to the inequality that is still painfully present in our society. It's a great place to start reading about feminism. Lend it to your friends and family, encourage them to educate themselves. After all, as Sarah Brown says in the foreword: "One of the best places any woman," (or man, let's be real here) "who wants to change the world can start is with picking up a book."

Sex Criminals Volume One: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky

This is basically the first comic I ever read in my entire life, and I'm glad of it. For mature readers only (duh), it's about a couple with the ability to stop time when they have sex, and decide to use it by robbing banks for the greater good. It's funny and silly (obviously) and some of the art is just beautiful, and it's all that while pushing taboos and generally being a bit risqué. I've even continued reading it past volume one. This comic, man. This f***ing comic.

Well, there they are. My top seven. Of no particular theme or genre. That's the way I like it.

Let me know if any of these catch your eye, and definitely feel free to leave some of your tops books of 2014 in the comments!


6 Jan 2015

Christmas Haul

Now that the Twelve Days of Christmas are over (just a handy excuse I'm using so I can post this in January, really), I'm going to share with you the things that I received under the tree, or close enough, this year. It wasn't a very big Christmas, which I'm totally fine with and grateful for, but I wanted to show you anyway because let's face it, I'm a bit of a stickybeak. I trust that maybe some of you are too, and maybe you'll enjoy this!

Sunglasses from Rubi Shoes

The Office Season One and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (Extended Edition) on DVD

Mindy Kaling's book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

A selection from Lush, including the Sakura bath bomb (top left), and Christmas exclusives the Holly Golightly bubble bar (top right, missing its berries :( ) and the Cinders bath bomb

Special late gift, my second ear-piercings!

So, that what what I got for Christmas! I love everything dearly. I hope you all had happy holidays, whatever it is you celebrate, and let me know if you got anything exciting!


3 Jan 2015

Projects for a New Year

Every time a new year rolls around I'm filled with the irresistible urge to start something new. Being the crazy perfectionist I am, it just feels like the most appropriate time. I'm the kind of person who makes New Year's resolutions that I never end up keeping or start some project or another that I never end up finishing. But this year, I'm determined, is going to be different. (I've probably said that every year since I was thirteen but never mind).

 One of my favourite things is keeping books or handwritten journals that are tangible and seem a lot more permanent that anything I can keep on my MacBook (despite the fact that my handwriting is a bit off being "neat"). So I've bought a couple of things that I hope will help me achieve my goals for this year, and I'd like to share them!

Goals Journal

I picked this up as a very rare impulse buy from kikki.K (also check out the Live Bright Collection which is beautiful) because I think I'm a person with a hell of a lot of goals. This book really encourages you to think about your 'dream life' and the person you want to become, whether it be in a year or three or maybe even a decade. I'm always thinking about what the future could hold (or rather what I want it to hold), so it only seemed smart to have a place to write it down and organise it. Maybe I'll actually achieve some of my New Year's resolutions this year. It's also really damn cute so if you like the look of it, go and grab one! You can start it at any month of the year you choose.

Q&A a Day

Proof that things like this aren't just for the New Year, I nabbed this beauty in mid-July last year and started using it straight away. It contains a page for each day of the year and a question, with room for five answers over five years. It doesn't matter when you start, you'll get the same amount out of it! So I guess in a sense this is a project I'm continuing into the New Year, but hey, it still counts. I'm very interested in the possibility of being able to look back in a few years time and see what I was thinking on a particular day. The questions aren't difficult at all, so it's easy enough to get into a routine of writing a couple of lines each night before bed. I haven't failed yet, which is saying something.

I picked this up from Books Kinokuniya in Sydney, but I've also seen it available on Amazon and such.

Let me know if you're doing any little things like this for 2015!


1 Jan 2015

A New Volume in a Never Ending Series

 So, friends, it's 2015! We're as far from 2000 as we are close to 2030. Terrifying.

 As my first thing of 2015, I'd like to introduce you to my new blog! Some of you will know that I've tried blogging before, but my attempts have had a lifespan of about three months tops. I feel like in the past I've put a little to much pressure on myself to create something SPECTACULAR that it just didn't end up making me happy and it didn't even end up sounding like me. So this time I'm just just gonna be pretty relaxed about it. If I don't have any post plans? No big deal. If I post something that's a little wimpy and only a paragraph long? Worse things have happened. I'm just gonna create something that I'd like to read, and maybe other people will like to read it too.

 One of the reasons I'm here in the first place is that 2014 was a bit of a blast. A lot of stuff changed. It's nice to look back at a year and think "yeah, for the most part, that was pretty great". I graduated high school at the end of 2013, so the year following was bound to be a big one. I started university, got a whole lot of new interests, made new friends, and overall just learnt to feel pretty good about myself. I feel like I'm on something that resembles a path now, instead of just standing in the middle of some crazy life intersection.

 I hope that 2015 continues the fun that I had last year. Maybe it'll top it. Who knows? But I intend to put some of it here. I'll be studying and writing and growing, it'll be nice.

 Let me know your general feelings about 2014, and some of what you hope to achieve in 2015!