Friday, 31 October 2014

What Blogtober taught me [Blogtober 2014 #16]

Original Picture taken from Unsplash
 It's Halloween tonight. This means that we are facing the end of the month of October and with it the end of Blogtober. Because it is the first time that I actually commited to posting on a regular basis for a longer period of time I feel like sharing what I learned from this little challenge.

Planning blogposts
I already diminished the amount of blogposts for this month by cutting it in half, because I knew that 31 blogposts would be too much for me. This was supposed to be a challenge, but nothing to stress me out too much. However with 16 posts to write I had to do some planning beforehand nonetheless. I mapped out a few posts in advance, but I did not plan the whole month. In the end I was fine with this rough frame, but I have to admit that 31do  posts need a lot more organisation.

Before starting this challenge I made of list of potential topics to talk about. Once October started I had a cheat-sheet with about 30 ideas already on hand, but I only used about 5 to 7 of them. Everything else was rather spontaneous - a bunch of sudden ideas.
My biggest worry was to run out of good ideas to write about and I am very glad that this problem never really occured to me. There was always something to write about.

Being on a schedule
To upload a post every other day turned out to be probably my best choice during this challenge. It kept me busy, but not to a point where it became stressful. Even though I always tried to publish content at least two times a week this schedule forced me to develop a steady working routine. I still had a lot of time for other things, but almost everyday I had to sit down and do something for my blog, too.
I guess that now that I am in the flow of things it would not be a problem to keep it going, but I encountered one major downside:

Losing sight of my writing priorities
Generally it was not difficult to come up with ideas, but towards the end of this journey I found that my priorities had changed. In order to publish my post on time I sometimes chose to write about something that has no deeper meaning to me just for the sake of uploading something. This doesn't mean that I was not satisfied with the way the text turned out, but it was not entirely me.
I like to read about lifestyle related topics, beauty and fashion, but I do not feel like I am in the position to write about it myself. It does not come from the bottom of my heart to be honest.
Before this challenge I was used to write less, but about more personal things, things that really moved me.

What I learned
It was fun to try out different things to write about this past month. Some of them worked, some of them didn't. I learned that it is better for me and my conscience to post less frequently, but about themes I personally care about.
This lesson was very useful for my and I enjoyed it a lot, but I think it's time to go back to my old self when it comes to blogging - just with a bit more books. Because I love them. I really do.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Bar Conversations gone wrong [Blogtober 2014 #15]

Original Picture taken from Unsplash
This weekend I spent a lovely evening with an old schooldfriend of mine.
We caught up on life and after dinner we headed down to a bar to grab some drinks and chat some more. It is one of my favourite places in our hometown, because the drinks are amazing, affordable, the people there are pretty laid-back and the overall atmosphere is quite relaxing.

Well, at least that's what it's normally like. This time things were a bit different.

We were alone for maybe 10 minutes when a group of Welsh guys joined us. Obviously they wanted to hook up with us. That's why people approach other people at a bar/club, right? We chatted for quite a while and I have to admit that it was fun, but in contrast to them we were not looking for someone to go home with (my friend is already taken and none of these guys was my type).

Eventually one of them lost his interest in me as the conversation was kind of stumbling. So, one of his friends took over. Again there was some chatting and laughing going on, but then things got awkward and a little bit touchy:

I don't even know where that came from, but right in the middle of the conversation he suddenly bent over and stopped with his lips right in front of mine. I instantly knew that he wanted to kiss me, but my first reaction was to stare at him.
My entire body froze, because I was so shocked.
Once I got a hold of myself again, I gently pushed him away and told him that this was not going to happen. He said, that it was okay, but I was still quite defensive - unable to restart a normal conversation because he kept smiling at me in such a strange way. The whole situation was very uncomfortable for me, because from time to time his hand reached out to touch my side or even my butt, but I refused every time telling him that I did not like it. 

When they finally left to go dancing I was so relieved, but I wondered: "I told him that I was not interested, but why was he so desperate to try it again and again?" Isn't that frustrating? And also, is it impossible to talk to a stranger at a bar just for the sake of a good talk? My friend assumed that it might be a cultural difference and that maybe girls in Britain who go out (all dolled up) often also look for a potential mating partner.

Well, if I met an interesting guy I would be last one to say no, but I am not conciously looking for someone and as long as I don't feel that special kind of chemistry there won't be any kissing with a stranger going on - ever!

So, after these fellows had left we were joined by another guy (maybe Indian or Pakistani). He had been creeping around the place alone the entire evening and was on the hunt as well. He was interested in my friend and when he came over he tried to make her laugh with a very bad joke:

"Why don't blind people go skydiving?"
[insert awkward silence]
"Because it scares their dogs!"

What the fuck? This joke was not funny and after a few minutes he left - thank God for that! But when he came back he tried to initiate a conversation with a joke even worse than the first one. The third time he tried out the first one again. Yes, he was very drunk. Almost desperately my friend tried to get rid of him and told him that she had absolutely no interest in him. Both of us were quite bugged out at that point. So, when I tried to convince him to go, he looked at me (after he had ignored me the entire time before) and said:
 "I'm not talking to you."

Are you kidding me?? I was actually stunned for a moment. Of course I know that he was after her, but he was a nuisance, so I had to intervene. When he left us for good he was quite pissed and we also took our leave shortly after. It was 2 a.m. anyway.

 In the end we had a lot of fun when we discussed this very strange evening on our way home, but I had to ask myself why it is always me who ends up with the creepy guys? I mean, why am I never approached by the nice ones? The ones I might actually be interested in? When it comes to confidence this is a real bummer... but at least an entertaining one.

What is your weidest going-out-experience? Has something like that ever happened to you before?

Monday, 27 October 2014

Catching Autumn [Blogtober 2014 #14]

 Yes, people say it all the time, but I simply can not believe it, that October is almost gone. It is one of m favourite months of the year, but this time I failed to really take it in. It feels a little bit like a wasted month - wasted in a sense that I spent a lot of time readjusting to university life and studying or at work, but I was not able to catch that autumnal feeling that I long for every year yet.

And even though I have to admit that this month was a bit of a disappointment when it comes to that I still managed to collect some impressions of this year's autumn:
I love the look of the sky before a storm
It is a bit scary how early it gets dark now. On Saturday night we had to turn our clocks on winter time which means, that at 6 in the evening it is almost dark - a strange feeling when I left class today. I instantly felt like going to bed.
A walk with the pugs
The old cemetery in Bonn
 My love for this cemetery is truly undying. I can visit it as often as I like and I could still wander around for hours. Especially now with the leaves falling on these old graves the atmosphere is amazing - chilly and romantic. It actually gets me excited for Halloween...
Also, I just realized that Blogtober is almost over. I decided to talk about my thoughts concerning this little project on the last day. The day after tomorrow will be one of my good old rambly, personal posts. There will be drinks, guys and awkward I-almost-got-kissed-which-almost-made-me-freak-out-moments!

What does autumn mean to you?

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Remedies for a tough night [Blogtober 2014 #13]

Original Picture found on Unsplash
I love a good night of sleep, but there are those nights when it seems to be impossible for me to fall asleep. Sometimes there is a specific reason behind it like an appointment in the morning that I do not want to miss by oversleeping or the first day of work/university after a longer vacation.

But there are also nights when I stay awake for no reason - when I toss and turn hour after hour. It is a dreadful state you can not always overcome. I do not suffer from insomnia, but this is what works for me most of the times when I go through such a tough night.

One of my biggest problems is that  have too much on my mind (which is why I started this blog in the first place). I catch myself imagining different scenarios,jumping from one topic to the next. This is where my journal comes into action. I have been writing my thoughts down for about two months now and it has helped me a lot. It helps my to organise what's inside my head and put it into perspective. 

Tea or hot milk 
It is no secret that the warmth of a hot drink tends to create a comfortable and cosy feeling in your belly. I often go for chamomille tea which is also good when you have cramps while you're on your period or milk with honey when I need something sweet.

As long as it is nothing too exciting reading can be a good medium to make you sleepy. Personally I like to go for short stories or books I already know, so that I do not end up with that feeling of wanting to know how the story goes on.

When I can't sleep I often feel restless as well. A little bit of stretching can help minimize this restlessness by getting the body moving and tiring it without doing too much. You do not want to get into a full workout or else you will rather awaken your body instead of calming it down. Just a few light stretches on your bed should be enough.

As I already said, sometimes nothing seems to work and I end up waiting and waiting for some sleep. So I'm curious:
What do you do when you can't sleep?

Thursday, 23 October 2014

8 cases of accidental happiness [Blogtober 2014 #12]

Original Picture found on Unplash
 Not too long ago I wrote something about daily pleasures. Most of them are susceptible or you can easily make them yourself, but there are also things you can not influence.
You may call it a coincidence or luck, but at the same time they can happen to you every day  which makes them  special as well as within reach. So always be on the lookout!

1. Pugs (or any kind of furry friend of your choice)
To me a pug is the ultimate symbol of instant happiness. Whenever I see one on the street wiggling it's little tail, it doesn't matter how shitty the day was before. Just one look is enough to feel this irresistible urge to smile and suddenly life is not that bad anymore.

2. "Find a penny, pick it up and all day long you'll have good luck!"
Sometimes I put my hands in the pockets of my jeans and find random coins of money in them. Usually it is not much- just 50 cents or one to two euros, but it still is some money, right? While this sudden blessing won't buy me a new book, it still feels great to have that little bit of extra pocket money (literally!).

3. Retrieved Goods
If you are like me you always relocate things (i.e. loose them). First, you fret about it. Then, you forget about it. These things might be lost forever in the void of the Bermuda Triangle of your room, but sometimes they find their way back to you - and when they do it's always a happ reunion.

4. Sales
This point is a bit of a tricky one, because sales are always dangerous and sometimes they end up with you having spent way more money than you actually wanted to, but there is this rare thing when an item you really, really want goes on sale and you can finally get it for a pretty good deal. This applies to clothes, books even food (I freak out every time my favourite deep-frozen pizza is on sale).

5. Your favourite song from way back when on the radio
Normally, I do not listen to the radio, because the music doesn't appeal to me. 
Sometimes however there are these well known tunes - songs that you used to listen to when you were young and innocent. So you turn the music up and sing as loud as you can. It makes driving so much more fun and amuses all the people passing by who then ask themself: "What is wrong with her?" Well, nothing, just having a good time over here!

6. Rainbows
Oh, come on! Don't tell me that you never get excited when one of these colourful motherfuckers turns up out of the blue?

7. An honest compliment
I am very bad at accepting compliments. I often tend to downplay them, but they do make me happy once I realize that the person giving it is truly honest about it. The same goes for giving someone a(n unexpected) compliment and seeing their reaction. I always feel like a good compliment is one of the easiest ways to make someone happy.

8. Updates from my web-favourites
A lot of bloggers/vloggers have set schedules for their videos and posts, but a lot of them post on an irregular bases. When one of them finally uploads something, I immediately grab my cup of tea and spend the rest of the day in my own blissful little cloud (especially when the content is extra interesting). 
Also, I always forget about their schedules so for me basically every video/post is a nice surprise.

When do you feel lucky?

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

My Top 5 Dream Destinations [Blogtober 2014 #11]

Travelling is one of my favourite activities (as you could already see in my post about Wanderlust), but because it is quite expensive I can't devote myself as much to it as I would like to.
The list of my visited places is growing, but it can't keep up with the list of places I still want to see. Here is an overview of my top 5 dream destinations in no particular order.

Venice, Rome & Florence
Found on cheezburger
At this point I have to admit something to you: The day I got a PS3 for Christmas a few years back, I turned into a huge Assassin's Creed fangirl. The second game is by far my favourite of the bunch and it is basically all because of Venice:
The setting, the music and running over the rooftops of the city while casually whacking some guards was perfection. I have always been interested in Italy and it's history, but this game made the urge to go there so much more pressing.
Found on Pinterest
 Of course I know that Venice is overflowing with tourists and it is also supposed to have a very particular smell to it, but one day I would love to experience this sensation of getting lost the narrow streets and canals, marvelling at the architecture and dreaming about the past.
The same goes for Rome and Florence:
The arts, the history, the architecture and of course the divine food - all waiting for me!

Found on Pinterest
Being a major in Asian Studies with a focus on Japan this has to be mentioned. Last year I went to Tokyo for two weeks which was pretty crazy and a bit of a culture shock, but I had a wonderful time there. Nevertheless I would also like to experience a more traditional (also somewhat stereotype) site and Kyoto as the old residence of the Tennô is perfect for that. As a foreigner my views about Kyoto are filled with positive prejudices. It is a symbol for the "old" Japan before the Meiji-era, when everything seemed to be about beauty, geishas and sophistication (to put it bluntly). Of course I want to see this rather cliché side of Japan, but I also want to see Kyoto in it's true colours.
My preferred season to visit this city is without a doubt autumn, because that's when Japan offers it's most astonishing views of nature. Also, I am not very fond of the boiling hot summer temperatures.

British Columbia
Found on Pinterest
I have always been a child of nature and solitude. While I enjoy the comforts of living in a bigger city, I like to escape from time to time to discover the beauties of nature:
Mountains, hills, forests and lakes as far as the eye can see.
Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but this is how I have always imagined this part of Canada to be. It seems to be the perfect place to go for long walks and leave all of the ordeals that come with living in the city behind.

Found on Pinterest
For a considerable amount of time Great Britain has been one of my favourite destinations, because it is easily accessible and financially manageable. Unfortunately, I was unable to visit Ireland so far - a condition I plan to change as soon as possible. Similar to Edinburgh I imagine Dublin to be a wonderful playground for a history lover like me. Plus it is the place of birth of Oscar Wilde (who is to me one of the most interesting personalities in literature). I want to wander the streets he used to walk on, visit tons of museums and stroll from one café to the next bookshop.

Found on Pinterest
This is so different from every other place on my list. Most of my destinations are culturally or historically oriented, but Bali belongs to an entirely different category. To me it is a place to relax and let go. Long, white beaches, the crystal blue sea and palms swaying in the wind. It is the place where I want to lie in my hammock and read all day or discover the richness of it's nature.

What are you dream destinations?

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Thoughts on "5th Avenue, 5 a.m." [Blogtober 2014 #10]

 I had been meaning to read this book for quite a while, but somehow something always got in the way: either another book or I was too busy with other things.
But as I was running out of my currents reads quite quickly during the past few weeks I made an order for some fresh supply.

On Saturday last week "5th Avenue, 5 a.m." finally arrived in my mailbox and I devoured it! After my rather sobering experience with "Wuthering Heights" this was just the kind of read that I needed:

Casually written, informative and fun

In his book Wasson describes the making of the film version of Truman Capote's "Breakfast at Tiffany's". Starting with the early negotiations he moves over to the problematic realisation of Capote's polarizing novel and finally deals with the aftermaths of it's release.

I always knew that the production of "Tiffany's" was not easy at that time. The fact that Audrey Hepburn should play a call girl and was not even Capote's favourite choice for the role of Holly Golightly was only the tip of the iceberg.
The cover of the book's edition from 2013 (my favourite actually)
To fully explain the problems that occured during the making and their origins, Wasson tends to go back in time far beyond the actual production period, dealing with Audrey's first moves as an actress as well as with Truman Capote's eventful youth. Sometimes I was afraid that Wasson would lose sight of the central theme of his book and overindulge in details, but he always surprised me, because every time travel eventually led back to "Tiffany's" - sometimes it just took a bit longer.

Another pleasing surprise were the notes at the end of the book. There were not a simple enumeration of the sources Wasson used. He gave a lot of more additional information about them, also stating how helpful they were during his research - thus providing an interesting insight into his own work.

5 a.m. is a very quick and easy read and ultimately one of my favourite reads this year so far.

What was your favourite book in 2014 so far?

P.s. Peanut butter cups really are the bomb!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Haul for a cosy weekend [Blogtober 2014 #9]

Today I took a walk into town to drop off a bag of old clothing at H&M and as I was already there, I thought to myself: "Why not browse around a little bit?"
The temptations were numerous, especially at the Body Shop sale (which I will make use of next week), but I stayed strong.

Well, most of the time, because there were a few things that I got. Once I arrived at home to look at my new acquisitions in all their glory I realized something:

This is a perfect little kit for a cosy weekend at home!

1) DVDs
This time I went for "Love Actually" (2003) and "Anna Karenina" (2012). Love Actually has been one of my favourite christmas films for years, but I never got around to buy it. Since it was on sale  and it won't be long until December, I figured I should just get it.
Initially I went to the store just to get Anna Karenina, but you know how things go once you are inside a shop surrounded by your favourite things (in my case books and DVDs).

I still remember the day when I went to the cinema to see Anna Karenina with my mother. I was truly impressed by the visuals and the costumes. The story itself was not one of my favourites to be honest, but ever since I started listening to the marvellous soundtrack again, composed by Dario Marianelli, it sucked me in and I decided to give it another go.

2) Wool
Knitting is one of my favourite pastimes during the colder months. Not only does it keep me occupied, it also prevents me from eating all the time. I have already finished a scarf this season in a browny, caramel colour, but I have also started knitting a burgundy one to add a subtle pop of colour to my outfits.

3) Peanut butter cups & tea
About two weeks ago I bought a pot of Ben & Jerry's über delicious peanut butter cup ice cream, when I suddenly realized that I have never had a real peanut butter cup in my entire life. Being a lover of peanut butter (on bread with banana-slices, yummy!) things could not go on that way, so I picked up a package of Reese's peanut butter cups at our local English Shop.

Of course I could not leave without some tea.
After a bit of thought I went with the Twinings Cranberry & Rasperry one, because I don't drink "adult teas". I am drinking it right now as I am writing this post and I have to say it is very good. The colour of this tea is lovely and so is the smell of it. It tastes slightly sour, but very fruity and rich. It would be a good base for an ice tea, too.

Definitely recommended to everyone who likes fruit teas!
With all of these items in my possession I know that I will spend my Saturday in the livingroom knitting away, while drinking tea, eating peanut butter cups and watching films. There could be worse prospects, am I right?

What is your perfect kit for a cosy weekend?

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Favourite Quotes from the literary World [Blogtober 2014 #8]

 Recently I have been a lot into looking for quotes and writing them down. And I don't mean some superficial, supposedly "life changing" motivational one-liners, but extracts from novels or sayings by writers in particulat that I agree with profoundly and appeal to me because of their beautiful language.
I do not collect them in order to create some kind of a new mantra for my life. It is rather a little pleasure I have developed over the past few weeks and which reignited my love for words. On my search for passages that appeal to me I started to read more, think more and feel more. My relationship to books became a lot closer.

I never conciously tried to hurt anyone, yet good intentions notwithstanding, when necessity demanded, I could become completely self-centered, even cruel. I was the kind of person who could, using some plausible excuse, inflict on a person I cared for a wound that would never heal.                                                                                                Haruki Murakami, south of the borders, west of the sun
"When I'm really into a novel, I'm seeing the world differently during that time - not just for the hour or so in the day when I get to read. I'm actually walking around in a haze, spellbound by the book and looking at everything through a different prism."                            Colin Firth
There is nothing more luxurious than eating while you read - unless it be reading while you eat. Annabel did both: they are not the same thing, as you will see if you think the matter out.                                                                                                                           E. Nesbit, the magic world
Found on Pinterest
"I like a lonely walk," I went on "at the end of a day full of people: it's always, to me, on such occasions, quite as if something has happened that the mind wants to catch and fix before the vividness fades. So I mope by myself for an hour - I take strocks of my impressions."                                                                                                              
Henry James, the sacred fount
"There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature." P.G. Woodhouse
I never wish wo offend, but I am so foolishly shy, that I often seem negligent, when I am only kept back by my natural awkwardness. I have frequently thought that I must have been intended by nature to be fond of low company, I am so little at my ease among strangers of gentility.                                                                                                              Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility
 "When the writing is going well, I can work all day. When it's not, I spend a lot of time gardening and standing in fron of the fridge."                                                                                Francine Prose

What are your favourite quotes?

Monday, 13 October 2014

The intimidating sound of heels [Blogtober 2014 #7]

Found on flickr
 "Real women wear heels." this thought has always been part of my perception of the female sex for as long as I can remember. The first time that I conciously came to this conclusion was while watching the old Hollywood classics with my mother were elegant women in perfectly tailored suits and dresses strutted down the street - with their heels clacking rhythmically on the pavement.

Nowadays heels are not a requirement for our daily life, because compared to the women in these films, we have a lot more options to choose from: ballet flats, booties, loafers, oxfords or even a simple pair of trainers and while I adore all of them a pump is to me still the embodiment of femininity.
But the thing with heels is that I can not wear them at all. The reason being is not only the fact that I am unable to walk in them. My main issue with them is that they are so intimidating! Heels are for grown up, working, independent women. I am just a 23 years old university student who prefers to stay unnoticed and let us be honest right now:
Heels attract attention. 
Found on Pinterest
The sound they make when they hit the floor, the way they influence your walk and your entire posture immediately call for attention. They require a certain degree of self-confidence - something I apparently have to work on.

I do not want to be heard on the hallway 30 seconds before people actually see me. Instead I prefer to be unnoticed - like a cat crawling through the grass in a backyard. So, whenever I see a woman with a pair of tasteful heels covering their feet I do not feel jealous, because they can pull it off and I can't, but because I admire them for this ability.
And let's face it: in comparison to a pair of Converse, heels -  no matter how high - are not always the most comfortable thing to wear. It can take a lot of endurance.

But just to get one thing straight: all of this doesn't mean that flats can not be attractive or womanly, but heels have an entirely different vibe to them which makes them so special on other people for me. Personally, I will stick to my beloved oxfords, when I want to be really fancy.

What pair of shoes are you most confident in and how do you feel about wearing heels?

Saturday, 11 October 2014

10 little but sweet daily pleasures [Blogtober 2014 #6]

Original Picture taken from Unsplash
As a matter of fact life does not only consist of big events. It is not just about waiting for the next holiday or event, but also about embracing all of the smaller pleasures we can enjoy (almost) every single day.  Sometimes they are unexpected and sometimes they are so pleasurable because they are something familiar and consistent - something reliable.

Here are 10 pleasures from my daily life:

 1. Crèpes as a weekend breakfast

 2. Spending time at a bookshop browsing the shelves and discovering new books

 3. The sound of rain while you are lying comfortably in your bed

 4.  Enjoying a well deserved meal after a long day

 5. Taking a walk through the city in the late afternoon

 6. Spending some quality time with your best friends (preferably with some good food to go with it)

 7. The uplifting feeling after watching an incredible film for the first time

 8. Getting rid of your bra and jumping into your pyjama-pants after work

 9. The feeling of a soft, warm jumper on bare skin

10. Finding a new, precious piece at a flea market

What makes your daily life pleasurable?

Thursday, 9 October 2014

There is always room for improvement [Blogtober 2014 #5]

Just like this poorly shot photo. Sorry, guys!
 There is this old, cliché saying called "nobody's perfect" and certainly all of us have some flaws we definitely know about, but can not be bothered to change.
What we are dealing with here are mainly bad habits and to be honest: I have a lot of them. This is just a small compilation of the things I really, really should do, but somehow never really manage.

1. Washing my vegetables/fruits: 
Do you know that? Sometimes you stand in front of your fridge and nothing really appeals to you at that moment, but you still want to eat something. Then you spot this little bowl of cocktail tomatoes, take one and eat it. Just like that. This might occur a second or even a third time withing the next 30 minutes.
In fact this is a really bad habit of mine - whenever I just snack on veggies or fruits I don't wash them. You can never know what kind of chemicals they use, but somehow I always "forget".

2. Taking out the trash: 
"Hm, if I push all of this a bit together I might be able to fit this can in." this thought comes to me at least once a week. Of course taking out the trash is nothing too dramatic. Normally it takes less than two minutes, because in most cases you can take it with you when you are about to leave anyway. But still, it is one of the tasks around the house I dread the most (next to cleaning the bathroom) however small it might be.

3. Keeping up a healthy study-routine: 
Everybody knows that cramming is not good for you and people always say that you don't just learn for a test or an exam, but for life. Well, throughout the past years, I was not very successful at transferring knowledge into my long-term memory. Instead of memorizing useful vocabulary my brain can safe entire film-conversations.
But somehow I just can't manage it to sit down for an hour and a half to do some diligent studying. Shame. on. Me.

4. Socializing: 
I have often stressed that I am in some way a lone wolf. Instead of searching the company of other people, I enjoy to stay by myself. This in itself might not be a bad thing, for one should always be able to have a good time alone, but it is equally important to go out, meet some friends or even get to know new people.
While I like doing the first, I rather dread the last one. Meeting new people makes me feel too nervous to be honest and sometimes I even tend to avoid a get-together with a friend for the sake of being alone.

What are your bad habits?

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Top 5 Film Picks for Autumn [Blogtober 2014 #4]

Original Picture taken from Unsplash
 Being a bit of a maniac when it comes to films I am always in the mood to spend entire days with my precious DVD's, but my choice largely depends on my mood which in turn is greatly influenced by seasons and the weather (same goes for books by the way).

Now that were at the beginning of Autumn I definitely gravitate to more melancholic and thoughtful films compared to summery, carefree chickflicks. Autumn is the time of the year when I reconnect with my inner romantic - dreaming of rainy days and long walks and that is what my favourite film picks for this season reflect as well.

About Time (2013)

The first time I watched this film was on my flight to Seoul back in February and I was instantly head over heels. Apart from the inevitable plotholes that come with anything that has something to do with time travelling this gem is my personal embodiment of romance.
The music, the atmosphere, Rachel McAdams' wardrobe and the chemistry between the actors is perfection. I was especially surprised by Domhnall Gleeson whom I never found too attactive in the first place, but the way he played his role made him so likeable! At the end I just thought: "Yes, I would marry that guy in a moment!"
Found on Amamorphosis and Isolate
 Pride and Prejudice (2005)

For a more profound adaption of Jane Austen's novel I would of course always advise you to watch the BBC-version from 1995, but to my mind the newer version is still hugely enjoyable. I remember watching it in the cinema 9 years ago (wtf? Time really does fly I guess....) and even now it excites me just as much. The costumes, the nature, the language, everything comes together so nicely.

The Perks of being a wallflower (2012)

This is probably my ultimate "I am in a melancholic mood" film and words can not express how much I cried the first time watching it. It is definitely not a lighthearted, funny film, but on the other side  I do not want to use the word "deep".  I'd rather describe this film as grave and earnest without leaving you with a depressed feeling at the end. It has it's entertaining, even cheerful moments, but at the end of the day it is not the kind of film to laugh at, but to think about.
It is the ideal choice for those evenings when the sun starts to set earlier.
Found on doowewho
 Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

Well, what can I say? This is just a classic that I can watch all year round, but what makes it so appropriate for Autumn? First of all there is of course Audrey Hepurn's magnificent wardrobe  provided by Hubert de Givenchy. It is classic, but considering the fact that Holly Golightly already belongs to the early sixties kind of girls, it is also very refreshing compared to the conservative look of the 1950's.
Another reason is of course the fact, that the story is set in Autumn, which apparently seems to be a lovely season in New York.

Charade (1963)

Yes, I am guilty. It is another Audrey Hepburn film, but just like for "Breakfast at Tiffany's" there are obvious reasons for why you simply have to put this film on your "to watch list".
Again, Audrey Hepburn's wardrobe is a dream (perfect fashion inspiration for Autumn), but this time she is accompanied by the most charming Cary Grant. If you ask me I prefer this pairing over Hepburn and Peppard.
Found on celluloidseance
 The storyline of "Charade" involves a lot of surprising plot twists and while there is a bit of suspense going on there are many humorous scenes as well (which mainly derive from the great chemistry between the two main characters).
And honestly:
Who could ever say no to Paris??

What are your top film picks for Autumn?

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Beloved Blogs and Tumblrs [Blogtober 2014 #3]

Original photo taken from Unsplash
 Every day I spend a considerable amount of time reading blogs and browsing through a compilation of tumblrs and while some of these reads are interchangeable, there are a few that have been with me for a while. And because I know that many of you are always on the hunt for something new (just like me) I thought: "Why not share my all time favourites?"

The first three tumblrs actually belong to the same category. Updated almost on a daily basis "A blog with a view", "Chambaron" and "Royal Rory" share their love for Downton Abbey, classic literature, Doctor Who and everything British and classy. If you ever feel like you are in need of a little escapism, these are the places for you to go to.

On a more personal note I adore the blog "megfee". This has been a favourite of mine for a long, long time now. Meg's art of writing is exquisite. Simple happenings or emotions turn into moving stories. She knows how to find the words for things that are sometimes so hard to describe while staying relateable at all times. This blog is about all those big and small heartbreaks that come with life and about not letting them crush you.

Being a food lover at heart I can not put this list out there without some food porn. "Berries . Citrus . Avocado" is the perfect source for beautifully shot food pictures. It doesn't matter if you are looking for something sweet or savoury - this tumblr has got it all!
And in case you are looking for simple, but good recipes, go to "bite these goodies". 

On the more healthy side of things, that's where you will find "But First, Breakfast". Over there the lovely Brit girl Sophie shares her experiences on her way to a fit and healthy lifestyle, also offering some good advice along the way.

Last but not least is another all time favourite: "Jess in a Yellow Dress". If you share my love for old Hollywood classics, books and Europe's royals, this is the perfect read for you. It also offers some nice insights about the life in Halifax, Canada.

What are your all time favourite blogs/tumblrs?

Friday, 3 October 2014

Thoughts on Wuthering Heights [Blogtober 2014 #2]

 A bit earlier this year I wrote about my impression of Anne Brontë's novel „Agnes Grey“. Afterwards I read „Villette“ by her sister Charlotte and not too long ago I finally finished „Wuthering Heights“ by Emily Brontë after a long, long struggle and of course I do not want to hold back my opinion about this novel.

Until now I have read a lot of books which were mediocre, but but not too bad and other books stood out to me as being particularly good. Sadly, I can't say that about this one, because it turned out to be a real dread for me.
Actually, I can not remember the last time that I anticipated the end of a book so much.
Reading „Wuthering Heights“ meant to me a constant feeling of agitation – something I do not strive for while reading for pleasure, but yes. This book agitated me.

I do not mind the fact that this book doesn't have a very satisfying end to it. For me it was even worse that it seemed impossible for me to feel any kind of sympathy for the characters. As a matter of fact Heathcliff is now holding the first place on my list of „book characters I can not stand for the life of me“. While I don't expect characters to be perfect and an example of immaculate behaviour, I think that a tad bit of common sense is not too much to ask for.

Instead this book seemed to be a mere compilation of hate and malignity with a veil of neverending depression hanging over the head of each character like the sword of Damocles. There was not a single moment of light or wit, just plain egoism and malevolence while each character kept plotting the next trap for the others to impede any chance of potential happiness for them.

To some people this might be a very harsh opinion, but I do not want to conceal the fact that I was quite disappointed with this book, also because I had been wanting to read it for a very long time.

At the end it was my least favourite read from the Brontë-sisters so far and I think that it is a pity Emily Brontë had to die so young before being able to finish a second book.
Wuthering Heights“ was not poorly written. Actually, the descriptions in it were lively and captured the (although quite depressing) mood in each chapter very well. It is just sad that so much talent was wasted on describing so much misery.

Judging by my experiences with the Brontë-sisters I would definitely recommend Villette“ as a first read, but I can't give out a recommendation for „Wuthering Heights“.

However I do not want to end this book talk with so much negativity – which is why I just have to add this Monty Python sketch. It really cheered my up many times while I read this dreadful book.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: The semaphore version of „Wuthering Heights“!

What are your thoughts about "Wuthering Heights" and the like?

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The British TAG [Blogtober 2014 #1]

This lovely, little TAG has been around for quite a while now, but I feel like it is especially appropriate considering the fact hat Autumn is finally here. Perhaps this is just some weird kind of connection that only makes sense for me, but I feel like Autumn and everything British can be considered as awesome. My first time in England was in Autumn, now that I think about it. 
Anyway, without further ado, my first entry for this year's Blogtober

1. How many cups of tea do you have a day and how many sugars?
This depends. Until a few months ago I barely drank any tea at all. Even now I sometimes go weeks without a single cup, but then there are those days when I drink up to 3 or 4 cups without any sugar. 
Most of the time I drink mint, green or fruit teas. Yummy!

2. Favourite part of your roast?
Apart from the meat itself I would go with the gravy in combination with potatoes. 
Sometimes there is nothing better than these golden little babies covered with an aromatic, hearty sauce. 

3. Favourite dunking biscuit?
Honstely? I don't dunk. Ever. I prefer to enjoy my beverage and my snack seperately, but I'd never say no to a simple cookie to nibble on while chatting and drinking the day away.

4. Favourite quintessentially British past time?
Mayb it is just one of those positive prejudices, but I often imaine fancy British families that either live on the countryside or go there over the weekends to spend some quality time taking walks and drinking tea.
Another major favourite would be going to pubs. Good beer, a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere and a some good friends. Do you need anything else in the world?

5. Favourite word?
I am a huge swearer. Maybe that is why I like the word "bloody" so much. 
To me it sounds like a surprisingly sophisticated way of swearing. But I also love the more positive expression "Bloody brilliant!". I don't even know why, but it always excites me whenever someone uses this term. 

6. Cockney Rhyming Slang?
Actually I didn't know any specific words until I saw this TAG for the first time, but I really came to like "pork pies". 

7. Favourite Sweet?
I am a huge sucker for Skittles. They are probably the most useless kind of food (next to Twinkies), but I love them! I am also very fond of fudge even though I can eat it only in very small quantities.

8. What would your pub be called?
It is not a secret that I have a weak spot for pugs. So obviously it should have something to do with pugs. 
Maybe I'd go with "The Prancing Pug". I mean, come on! A pug. Prancing! You can't get any cooler than that!

9. No. 1 British Person?
This question is SO hard. Especially among British actors are so many brilliant ones, but I think I will have to go with Audrey Hepburn
She was only half British, but I still think that it counts. To me she did not only have an inimitable, elegant sense of fashion. She also was and still is to me the embodiment of effortless chic, humanity and modesty - and of course she was a marvellous actress.
Other major human favourites are Cary Grant, Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Jamie Oliver and Keira Knightley.

10. favourite Shop/Restaurant?
HMV all the way. In the days of going all digital it might not be appropriate anymore, but I have this weird urge to possess things materially. Just being able to watch something on Netflix doesn't satisfy me. 
also, HMV always has amazing deals compared to the ones I usually get in German stores. 

11. What British song pops into your head?
"Wonderwall" by Oasis. Timeless classic. 
The last time I listened to it was at a bar and I associate it with a lot of good memories.
I know this is probably the most unoriginal answer for this question, but this is how I roll everyone!

12. Marmite
Ugh. Run you fools!