Thursday, 31 March 2011

Kawaii things

I completely and utterly adore stationery. My favourite is Paperchase, where are the most amazing designs of butterflies, flowers and cute things. What's not to love? The only thing that makes me sad is that the old designs are not available after a while. My little secret is that I am such a weirdo that most of the notepads and notebooks are not even used, because I have a protective instinct to keep them in mint condition. Only Boyfriend knows about this addiction and he never says anything mean about it (or anything for that matter), so it's completely fine. 

My recent indulgence was the Japanese-themed Tokio-style designs. I fall for kawaii things like a moth to light a bee to honey (I'm scared of moths despite everyone telling me that these are just ugly butterflies). I would really like to go to Japan and even live there for a year or two, because I'm fascinated by the mixture of new and old culture, unique customs and the modern technology out there. I want to start to learn Japanese - just for fun and pleasure, just for me. And since I've discovered the best green tea in the world, I had to buy a new mug - it was a necessity.



Tomorrow I'm planning to go alone to The Wallace Collection for the lecture about Madame de Pompadour. I also want to go for a little stroll and just enjoy myself. I need to learn to go out on my own. Before the depression hit me, I was fine with spending time by myself. But since I've been isolated for so long and didn't want to have any contact with other people, I need to learn to do it all again. There's always someone with me when I'm in Central London, so it's time to try something new.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Bonjour cupcake

The longer this day lasts, the more frustrated and angry I get. So I better go to sleep now. Seriously. I've written all of these things down, but I decided to delete that paragraph, because when I'll look back at this day I don't want to remember these bad things, only the good ones. Running on a treadmill, laughing at the office and reading a book. The rest is history.

On the gym front I'm doing good, on a diet front too. I've been tempted today with cookies and a cheesecake with strawberries and I resisted to both! I am so proud of myself! To celebrate I bought two cute shopping/tote bags. That's the only cupcakes I can have for now. 


 My Birthday is in 2 months time and this year I'm planning special fiesta - not the usual clubbing drunkenness but a picnic in a park. There are a lot of details to plan - beginning with the choice of the park - but I really like this idea. It will be a great way to have fun in the middle of the day - a far cry from the usual dancing in the middle of the night. 

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Weekend blogging failures

I am a really bad blogger during the weekends. Usually, when I come back after the escapade, I am so tired, that I don't even want to turn my laptop on and if I do it's usually to watch (lately) an old episode of the Jersey Shore. So I'm doing my catching up during the week, but it's so hard to write it all sometimes - we do so much! From now on, I'll try to write at least some notes and save it to come back to it later.

So if you want to check out what I've been doing this weekend on

Saturday

and

Sunday

just click on the links or scroll down on the main page.


Monday, 28 March 2011

Red Cross Japan Tee



To aid the American Red Cross' earthquake & tsunami relief efforts in Japan, Opening Ceremony has created this t-shirt in solidarity with a country near and dear to our hearts.

100% of the profits made from the sale of this t-shirt go to the American Red Cross.
Unfortunately, it's not available in the UK.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Wallace Collection and Hyde Park on Sunday

One of my favourite museums in London is The Wallace Collection. The Wallace Collection is a national museum in an historic London town house. In 25 galleries are unsurpassed displays of French 18th century painting, furniture and porcelain with superb Old Master paintings and a world class armoury. 

The Wallace Collection is a national museum which displays the wonderful works of art collected in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace, the son of the 4th Marquess. It was bequeathed to the British nation by Sir Richard's widow, Lady Wallace, in 1897.

Displayed at Hertford House, the main London townhouse of its former owners, the Wallace Collection presents its outstanding collections in a sumptuous but approachable manner which is an essential part of its charm. It is probably best known for its paintings by artists such as Titian, Rembrandt, Hals (The Laughing Cavalier) and Velázquez and for its superb collections of eighteenth-century French paintings, porcelain, furniture and gold boxes, probably the best to be found anywhere outside France. There are also splendid medieval and Renaissance objects, including Limoges enamels, maiolica, glass and bronzes, as well as the finest array of princely arms and armour in Britain, featuring both European and Oriental objects.

unfortunately I am on all the pictures, so I had to crop this one.
It is a real house filled with the antique and beautiful things. It's like moving back in time to late XVIII century Paris and France. The clocks are ticking and playing unique sounds every fifteen or thirty minutes - in every room there's different one! I became familiar with this place after Mother wanted to see one of the Delaroche portraits showing Virgin Mary. Apparently, the model was Izabella Potocka - Polish aristocrat living in Paris during the time when Poland was non-existent. Mother loves her and she read almost every book on her, so it was great to actually see the portrait she was reading about and saw it in the book!

Boyfriend and me cycled to there today from our usual spot - St John's Wood - that's the nearest docking station from us. This time we took a different route and cycled through Regent's Park - there is a footpath available for cyclists too! Then we entered Marylebone High Street and passed by the old AM's flat, where her sister currently lives. It was great to cycle on the Sunday morning - there streets were mostly empty, I think that the time change had something to do with it!

We went out early today, because on 11.30am was a free Public Tour around the place. A very lovely woman told us a little bit of history of the place and we covered few major pieces of exhibition. Now I want to buy a book about Madame de Pompadour - I had no idea she was such a vital person in promoting arts. 

Afterwards, we grabbed a quick lunch - vegetarian Sunday roast - and went to see Limitless. I liked the trailers, I read few reviews and I heard that the movie is on top of the list in the USA. To be honest, I was disappointed. I was expecting something ground-breaking, but it was an action movie. In my opinion, there was no need to focus so much on fights, blood and chopped hands. The idea behind the script was great, but I think the screenplay had been lost somewhere along the way. Unfortunately it's a typical guy movie. 

The weather was so nice and it was barely 3pm when we walked outside, so after quick chat we've chosen to take a stroll in Hyde Park. It was packed. On Speaker's Corner, people listening and just general madness, at The Serpentine (a huge artificial lake in the middle, created for the Queen Caroline in 1730) people were paddling in boats and the birds were just mad with happiness. We walked all the way to the South Kensington and Harrods, then turn left to Green Park. We walked for 3 hours and I could certainly feel it in my legs. But it's great to be so tired.









Saturday, 26 March 2011

Fun day cycling with London protests in the background

Today was the perfect Saturday. It was just perfect, despite the fact that there were huge anti-government protests in London, we were in the middle of them and had few encounters with anarchists on the way. I was seriously scared a couple of times, but there was A LOT of police, so that made me feel safe a little bit more. 

1 1/2 house
But the day started with meeting Dom-dom at Finchley Road, walking to St John's Wood (longer walk than I expected!) and enjoying the warm and sunny day. Dom-dom has never cycled in London before, so she was major scared, because our plan was to cycle from St John's Wood to Tottenham Court Road. Of course buying Boris bike pass was not problematic and it took us around 20 minutes (!!!) to buy one for each of us (3 people in total). We didn't know the latest trick in the book aka when you pull the bike from the docking station, press both brakes simultaneously and then pull as hard as you can. Easy. Right.

trying to buy bike pass

In the end, with the little help of a guy who was returning his bike, we went on and cycled all around Regent's Park to the British Museum. We made a little stop there. In the original plan we were going to see The Eagle at Odeon on Tottenham Court Road, but we were so hungry, so the decision was to eat some lunch. 

We spent few ours eating, laughing and joking. Dom-dom had her first encounter with the Nintendo DS  - me and Boyfriend have one each (mine is pink of course), so we played against each other and it was so much fun! I forgot how great Nintendo is - usually I'm going through the gaming phases like playing The Sims, Caesar, etc. and then the circle overlaps. Anyway, Dom-dom now wants to buy Nintendo too, so we're be playing together aka even more fun.


I won
When were were talking, I said that I want to go to the Selfridges today and buy MAC lipsticks. I had my eye on both Lady Gaga ones and also the hottest spring trend - orange! I've found on the MAC website a great colour called Morange and I knew it had to be mine. Dom-dom claims that she also wanted to buy orange lipstick for quite some time, but of course we all know that it was my idea. 

not a good photo, but I will write another posts about the lipsticks and post better pictures.
We went all the way from the Tottenham Court Road to Bond Street. We didn't take the main road (Oxford Street) because of the protest and it was very good idea, because when we were passing Topshop on a parallel road, there was madness - shop closed, paint on the walls, windows smashed. Anarchists had a really good time out there. It was rather shocking to see all these people with banners, shouting and in black hoodies and then enter Selfridges and pass Louis Vuitton, Prada, Marc Jacobs and Chanel. Two completely different worlds.




We bought our lipsticks and parted our ways. Dom-dom went home to get ready for a friend's birthday drinks (I was also invited but didn't want to go) - in the end she was so tired (we can really make people suffer) and went to sleep! Score Dom-dom!


Me and Boyfriend wanted to go to the cinema badly, but when we saw that the earliest movie at the Odeon Marble Arch is in over an hour, we were stuck. Our bike pass was still valid (it lasts £1 for a whole day and then £1 when you use bike for over an hour), so we cycled back to Tottenham Court Road to the Odeon we were originally supposed to go to and see The Eagle. Because there was still a little bit of time and there's a HUGE Paperchase store (aka my heaven - I LOVE stationery!) on the other side of street, I have a new mug and notepads (pictures to come soon). 

The Eagle was better than I expected. I don't want to put spoilers, so I won't write about the essence of the movie, I will only say that it's much more than fighting and blood on the scree. Of course there are battle scenes and nasty usage of the knives etc., but as my usual reaction to this is hiding behind my jacket, I don't remember it after leaving the cinema. It was an interesting movie and I'm glad we went to see it. It gave me a chance to not only salivate over Channing Tatum, but also remind myself about honour and true friendship.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Liebster Blog Award

I've recently received a Liebster Blog Award from the lovely Adrienne at The Rich Life (on a budget).


What is a Liebster Blog Award:
It's an award to draw attention to blogs that are terrific, but don't have a lot of followers. Not many is defined as less than 300, so apparently my Blog is very low-profile.

Because I'm looking on quality rather than quantity I need to check out first which of my favourite blogs don't have many followers (very unlikely, as there are so wonderful bloggers out there!). But stay tuned!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Sunglasses

Today was another perfect-weather day in London! I finally wore my favourite plain grey sport pumps and a normal 'fur'-free jacket. BUT of course there was a time when I was cold and the minute later I was boiling hot. Hopefully the weather will remain like it. By now I'm pretty obsessed by now with checking weather reports for weekend.

After the gym and before I went back home to take a shower and change clothes - I was going to the w.e.office today - I rushed to Primark to buy some sunglasses I saw yesterday in this cowbiscuits' post. I am not a huge fan of Primark - especially clothes can be deceitful and fall apart after a couple of washes - but sometimes you can get there a fantastic bargain/deal and there's no way you can say "no". I have really wonderful bags and jewellery from there and everyone complimented me on it. So when I saw that there are sunglasses for ONLY £1 I knew I had to check it out!

Because I have a round and small face it is very hard for me to get a nice pair of sunglasses. Usually the ones from Topshop, River Island or H&M are sticking out for 3cm on my right and left. Last year it was pretty bad - I spent almost whole day looking for a nice pair and went home with nothing. 

Today I bought three pairs and they are great! First thing I've noticed after I put them on was that there was something different - they actually "stick" to my face properly and there's no sticking out. I told Dom-dom and girls at the w.e. office and they're all buying them! I also bought some charm necklaces and a nice grey-et-silver scarf. I'm going there tomorrow for a longer lookout.





Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Smelling spring in the air

Today officially the spring has begun. You could smell it in the air - it was so sunny and warm. Just one of these perfect London days when you're happy and strangers actually smile at you on the streets. Some of them are already wearing flip-flops and short sleeves - that's what happens when the temperature reaches over 16 degrees. I truly hope that it's going to stay like that, because I want to go cycling over the weekend (even Dom-dom agreed to come!).



I went to the gym today and I was pretty let down when I stepped on the scales. It's just my stupid body resisting to any change even though I'm forcing it. I just have to survive. But it's really unfair when I think that I haven't eaten ANY chocolate or crisps for more than 3-4 weeks and although my stamina improved, I don't see the results.

Yesterday I sat and read One Day by David Nicholls. I was gripped by the story of two people who meet after their graduation and we follow their lives from then on to the same date every year. It's amazing how people change and yet remain the same. How their priorities and desires change over the years. This book helped me to put some things in perspective. I also talked to Dom-dom for over 2 hours today and she kept repeating the thing she always tells me - that in few years I'll forget about this period of not having job and just simply move on.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

New books

To have some part in a celebration of the recent World Book Night on 5 March 2011 I purchased some books. There are now a lot of promotions in the bookstores linked to this event and I was able to buy a book for only £1!

One of the things I love is a smell of a new book, skimming through the pages and finally reading it for the first, second and third time. I remember when in High School one of my friends said that she only reads books once (!!!), because she doesn't see the need/point in reading them again. I was shocked and I still am. My whole childhood was founded on books and I couldn't live without them!

So now I'm really looking forward to reading these gems, especially because I read some fantastic reviews about them.


Monday, 21 March 2011

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Spring in London's parks and Never Let Me Go

It is our tradition that every year when the daffodils start to bloom, we go to Green Park and St James Park next to Buckingham Palace and just admire the beauty. Daffodils are one of my favourite flowers, even though I'm not usually big fan of yellow. They also smell wonderful and just remind me of new beginnings. We were a little bit disappointed, last year daffodils were literally everywhere, this year - probably due to the long and cold winter - there were only few yellow patches on the grass. 

Green Park

Green Park

St James Park

Japanese wish on a blooming cherry tree - St James Park

St James Park

St James Park

Pelicans - main tourist attraction - St James Park

St James Park


All of the London was today taken by tourists, they were all over the place - the tourist season has officially started. The Queen was today at the Buckingham Palace (there was a flag flying over), but there was no glimpse of her. As usual, we joked that she can check the hour on the Big Ben from her windows.

Big Ben in the background

Buckingham Palace

We took the usual route and walked past the Queen's old stables and guards. I have to finally go and see changing of the guard this year, because I've never seen it - after all these years of living in London! 

I heart horses!
We went for a lunch and it was terrible. We keep coming back to this restaurant near Trafalgar Square, because we're usually always HUNGRY after a walk in a park since it's on the way to the Leicester Square. Today, I ordered vegetarian Thai noodles and they had no taste except chili. I was aware that this dish was given three chili peppers on the menu, but I thought that there's going to be some more flavours! We're so not impressed, that we've vowed not to come back and just go extra mile or two to the same chain, but on the Tottenham Court Road.

Today we decided to go and see Never Let Me Go with Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley based on a novel by Japanese-born British author Kazuo Ishiguro. I am dying to see Biutiful by Alejandro González Iñárritu and starring Javier Bardem, but the only screening was at 5.30pm. I haven't read the Ishiguro's novel and for now, I don't think I will. The movie was nothing I was expecting. It's very, very sad. As children, Ruth, Kathy and Tommy, spend their childhood at a seemingly idyllic English boarding school. As they grow into young adults, they find that they have to come to terms with the strength of the love they feel for each other, while preparing themselves for the haunting reality that awaits them. And the saddest thing is that they have no choice over their fate - there's only waiting. A movie to remember.

It was still relatively early when we left the cinema, so we decided to go and see exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery - An Englishman in New York: Photographs by Jason Bell. Inspired by some of the 120,000 English men and women living in New York City, Jason Bell has identified and photographed leading British born figures setting the cultural agenda in New York, including Thomas P. Campbell, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, writer Zoë Heller, Sting, Kate Winslet and television pundit and Barney's window dresser Simon Noonan. Jason Bell began this project following a commission on ‘Anglophilia’ for American Vogue. He has lived between New York and London since 2003. I really enjoyed it.
National Portrait Gallery

Saturday, 19 March 2011

London Street Photography and Norwegian Wood

Today we went to see London Street Photography exhibition at the Museum of London. This major new exhibition showcases an extraordinary collection of London street photography with over 200 candid images of everyday life in the street. From sepia-toned scenes of horse-drawn cabs taken on bulky tripod-mounted cameras to 21st century Londoners digitally ‘caught on film’, explore how street photography has evolved from 1860 to the present day. The photographers show the relationship between London’s streets and the people who live on them, and reflect on the place of photography on London’s streets today as anti-terrorism and privacy laws grow ever tighter.

Recruits near the Westminster
Big Ben and anti-war protesters
It was really interesting to see the familiar places like Picadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square or Bank on the old photographs. It is amazing to see people gathering, leaning from the windows, just to have an opportunity to be on the picture. However, I was expecting a little bit more. I'm not saying it was bad, but I think that the combination of reading fantastic reviews and attending some major exhibitions at British Museum, made me feel that this one was too small. 

We also had in plans going to see British Art Show 7, but we decided to postpone it for the next weekend - we're both feeling a little bit ill and my legs hurt, after yesterday's PT session, where I had to run. So we went to eat and to my shame I ate vegetarian burger and some fries - my first fast-food in almost 4 weeks! Oh, Renata (my PT) will be so not impressed.

Quick check on the Blackberry and it turned out that there is Norwegian Wood at the nearby Odeon Covent Garden. Lately, we're choosing Odeon over other cinemas, because we have a Premier Clubcard and collect points - today we were able to exchange them for one ticket! Yey! The movie is an absolute must-see. It's so simple and beautiful. I admit that I am not a huge fan of Murakami's novels, but the movie is nothing like the book. It is difficult and some characters are doomed from the start, but in the end, it shows that one chapter has to close for the new one to open and give some hope.

I also snapped these great postcards from the cinema

Friday, 18 March 2011

How to get Smoky Eyes? - Max Factor Smoky Eye Effect Eyeshadow

Over the years I have been unsuccessfully trying to create perfect smoky eyes. I have a pale complexion, so unless I'm tanned, when I put an eye liner I look like a freaking panda on steroids. I know that I can choose a grey/dark brown eye liner, but unfortunately it's not the same - I've tried. 

I have a collection of eye shadows, crayons, eye liners, etc., etc., which I don't use, because I simply don't now how. I've asked all of my girlfriends to teach me, I've watched insane number of YouTube tutorials and it turns out that everyone can do it except me - lines I draw are just like if one year old would draw!

Despite the fact that I have this collection of smoky eye make-up, I was keen to check out new product - why deny myself an opportunity to add something new, especially when there's promotion and you can buy it £3 cheaper. 


So I decided to try out Max Factor Smoky Eye Effect Eyeshadow and it's great! 

  • there are two ends marked Step 1 and Step 2 and you simply put it on according to the indicators;
  • it blends easily together, has a glittery feel and I could finally manage to create the look!
  • it smudges perfectly and you can decide for yourself how dramatic your look can be;
  • the wand is really easy to hold and you can always get the right amount with every application;
  • it lasts on the eye for a long time and there are no smudges (huge bonus!); 
  • I am yet to see how economically efficient it is, but my instinct tells me it's going to have a long lifespan;
  • the only flaw is that when you apply both ends (white and black) you need to use a lot of black end to get a really strong colour. It's definitely easier with the black Bourjois eyeshadow, so I tried to also put Bourjois on and it worked - it's also good if you don't want your make-up to be all glittery. 


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