Monday, 31 December 2012

We visit a life we both left behind

Despite all that's happened in Great Britain this year to make it one that I'm sure won't be forgotten in a long time, personally 2012 has been one of those years that's just tootled along, there've been no major obstacles or momentous occasions to mark it out in my mind (I suppose the end of a big relationship technically does fall into this category but I'm not seeing that as a bad change now by any means).

2011 was a year with a lot of change in my life, finishing Uni, graduating, becoming a real life person with a real life job, moving away from Leeds, moving back to Leeds, moving into a new house. In comparison, 2012 has just been a bit stable. I make that sound like a bad thing, when in actual fact it really isn't. I took a little look back through my photos from the past year and I have to say, there have been a lot of highlights. Being my first full year of working life, the fun bits of the year have been even more savoured as time with friends has become more valuable, shifting from student life to real life means we no longer have the luxury of being able to wander into each other's rooms at all hours of the day or whiling away hours just sat at the kitchen table. Instead, it means that when we do all spend time together there's a definite air of excitement and a lot of effort goes into making it memorable. 

I've picked out a few snaps as a bit of a review of 2012 in the life of Kaz. It probably won't mean a lot to you guys reading but I had a whale of a time looking back at all my pictures of day trips, nights out and weekends away. 

1. Birthday celebrations- lots of my favourite people all in one room (and some spookily coordinated outfits) 2. A day out at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park with my Mum, Dad and new DSLR 3. Live at Leeds 2012 4. A sunburnt sunny day in Nottingham 5. Sailing round the Isle of Wight with the Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust through work 6. City living 7&8 Olympic stuff- seeing Friendly Fires for free definitely made me warm to the occasion 9. 'rowing' in Stratford with one of my favourites 10. Monkeying around in Edinburgh 11. Leeds Festival- seeing Florence was a definite highlight of my year/life in general 12. We're a very distinguished little bunch. Especially when filled with wine.

Roll on 2013. Bring me some more good times like these please.

Reunion- The xx

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Like those before and those to come

2013 has definitely been a good one as far as music goes. I've been thinking for a while about what I'd say my top 5 songs from this year are and I've struggled so much to actually come to some sort of definite list as once I think I have my five another song from the last few months pops into my head and takes me right back to square one. I could have probably done a top 10 (or 100...) the way I was going, but eventually settled on this little lot (I'm writing this in a rush now before I change my mind again).

If you've not heard of some of these songs before and are partial to a bit of indie goodness then definitely give them a listen. I've always got music blaring out of my laptop when I'm typing out blog posts which is why it always ends up creeping into my post titles (I should probably start linking them in my posts so they make a bit more sense!).

Default Django Django

Now this is one of those songs that I've sung along to for ages on nights out and had a jolly good time watching them at Leeds festival in the summer, but despite this, they're not a band I'd paid too much attention to until quite recently. I'm now making up for lost time by listening to them on my iPod ALL THE TIME. The rest of the album is great too so if you like the sound of this then definitely give them a go.

Sappho Tribes
I cast my mind back to the start of 2012 to think about what I was listening to earlier in the year and this was definitely one of my most played songs. I love the lead singer's voice, he's got that whole grungy rock vocal thing going on and is great to sing along to if you're not having the best day ever- sometimes you just need to belt out a big song to make yourself feel a bit better (apologies to my neighbours).

Breezeblocks alt- J

Probably one of the most hyped up bands of this year, but alt- J's album An Awesome Wave is too brilliant and refreshingly different from a lot of other stuff out there at the moment that its impossible not to give them credit for it. Breezeblocks is the first song of theirs that I heard, thanks to my old housemate who was in the same course group as them at uni and was all excited because they were about to release an actual, proper album.

Pelican The Maccabees 

I went to see the Maccabees back in March and even then this song was sending the crowd crazy. Then at Leeds festival they were headlining the NME tent and the electricity the song produced then was absolutely mind blowing. Its impossible to listen to this and not have a bit of a boogie when it builds up to the chorus. This one also took the crown as the lyric in my post title... that must count for an extra star or something!

Celestine Spector

I've had so much love for Spector since probably around February/March time and resorted to listening to their songs on youtube whilst counting down until August when they FINALLY released their album. Celestine is a song I've been continually listening to for most of the year and is always one of my go-to songs when I put my music on. If you ever get the chance to see Spector live then my word just do it, they're brilliant live and aswell as putting on a great show they don't take themselves too seriously and aren't afraid to interact with the audience (when I saw them in Leeds in May they extended an open invitation to the bar they were going to after the set to the packed out o2 Academy... if that's not audience interaction then I don't know what is!).

So there you have it, a little insight into what my ears have been enjoying this year. If anyone has any recommendations of new stuff that I can kick start the new year with then give me a shout!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight

dress, top (underneath), jumper: Topshop

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! Mine was a quiet affair but still very enjoyable and full of food (naturally...) so I'm currently finding that 90% of the clothes I brought home with me are currently redundant- not sure what possessed me to bring home a load of body con and tight fitted clothes to wear over Christmas. Madness. 

Here's a few quick snaps of my Christmas Day dress courtesy of Mama T (does anybody else have a little family tradition of a new outfit for Christmas too?). I love the speckled fabric on this dress, and being me I've teamed it with my trusty collared top (I do own alternatives, honest, but never seem to bother to photograph those!) and the old favourite burgundy jumper even made an appearance when it came to braving the great outdoors for a post-dinner walk/waddle.

I've been on a few pretty muddy wanders with my family over the last week, but silly Kaz has had a few camera related incidents of late- forgotten memory card, no battery, forgotten to take the camera out altogether- so I didn't get to capture any of the lovely wintery days, instead being able to give my full attention to not falling over in the muddy swamps my Dad insisted on us wading through.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Our cheeks are nice and rosy, and comfy and cosy are we

On Friday, after what felt like the longest week in all eternity, I finally got to skip out of work shouting "ITS CHRISTMAAAAAAAS" in a Noddy Holder fashion. After one traumatic walk to the station whilst carrying about a zillion bags filled with my clothes and Christmas presents, followed by two hours sat next to the moaniest girl I've ever had the displeasure of sharing a train table with, then a quick run around Liverpool with Papa Smurf to pick up some Christmas presents for my Mum, I was finally home for the holidays. 

I'd mentioned to my Mum before I got home that I wanted to make some mince pies to stuff my face with give out to a few people, and explained that last year I'd made the mincemeat from scratch so would like to do the same again. My Mum, being a very tidy and house proud sort of person cowers in fear whenever she hears that I want to set foot in the kitchen as I can be a bit of a whirlwind (I'm not sure she's ever quite forgotten the time when my friend and I were about 16, drank loads of rum and then decided to bake... the result was a big sloppy pile of cake mixture all over my Mum's floor. And walls. And cupboards.). so I arrived home to find a little jar of mincemeat waiting on the kitchen counter. Clearly she had visions of raisins dotting the ceiling and orange peel covering the floor and decided she didn't want to be subjected to that kind of mess. I was a bit gutted as I'd wanted to try this mincemeat recipe  that Rachael posted on her lovely blog, Made up of little things but they still turned out pretty well in the end. I'll just have to make sure I get round to making some in my own kitchen next year so I can do it properly! 

If you want to cheat like me and whip up some semi-homemade mince pies whilst making a mess of somebody else's kitchen then I used this mince pie recipe from the BBC food website. Its still not too late to get some ready before Santa comes down your chimney tomorrow night! 

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Are you hanging up your stocking on the wall?

My friends literally amaze me. Take one of my old friends from school for example. We set a £5 limit for Christmas presents this year to save a few pennies and give ourselves a bit of a challenge to see what we could actually come up with on such a small budget (A fiver really doesn't go very far these days it seems...). And voila, this is what £5 can get you if you think a little creatively. 

Such a simple idea spending £5 on chocolate but I know I'd never in a million years have thought to present it like this! If you're stuck for last minute ideas for a Secret Santa present or just are looking for a little stocking filler for somebody then give it a go and try your hand at one of these. Grab a selection box, a couple of candy canes, a jolly looking santa and some other delicious bits and bobs and you're sorted! I'd been adamant that I was going to make one for whoever I pulled out of the hat for Secret Santa in work, and then I pulled out the one person who doesn't like sweets and chocolate (crazy woman...) so had to go back to the drawing board on that one. 

I was given this back at the start of December and I'd been showing incredible willpower not digging into it all, instead just making full use of it as a cute little Christmas decoration. It lasted until I got back from my work Christmas dinner the other day when for some inexplicable reason I decided that a three course meal hadn't quite filled me up and so I NEEDED to munch on a box of Malteasers afterwards. 

Saturday, 15 December 2012

We are the reckless, we are the wild youth

dress: Topshop

I realised when I uploaded these photos just how blurry they really are. I'd like to blame this on something that was no fault of my own but in actual fact I think the cause is just that I get too swishy and overexcited when I put this dress on because of the floaty material and voluminous sleeves. Not going to lie, this dress makes me prance around and pretend I'm Florence. Although as far as I'm concerned, that's never a bad thing.

I've had this dress since the start of my final year of Uni so its pretty old now (like me, sob sob) but it has remained my failsafe go to outfit for nights out, meals out and anything inbetween ever since. I'm sure everybody I know is pretty sick of it by now, but quite frankly I think I'll still be wearing it when I'm forty. Unless I keep consuming pop tarts at the alarming rate I currently am (I only discovered them quite recently so am making up for lost time...) in which case I'll have probably outgrown the dress by Christmas. 

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Do you know where the wild things go?

jumper: vintage, jeans: Topshop, boots: Topshop, hat: Topshop, necklaces: Urban Outfitters/River Island

Now this jumper technically wasn't bought by me, but its been in my possession for most of the last few years so that makes it mine now right?! I wish I could say that I was lucky enough to be the person that found this amongst the rails and rails of vintage American sweat shirts that line most vintage shops. Alas, I'm just not that patient. I love wandering round vintage shops and flicking through the rails but if I'm being honest then please give me a bit of organisation and shiny new clothes any day (oh hey there Topshop). I'm just too lazy for any other type of shopping. Plus I'm so indecisive with clothes its always safer if I can rely on a good refund policy.

Anyway, now lets all just admire how intelligent I look wearing a Harvard jumper. I'm off to revise for my midterm. Or whatever it is that smartiepants Harvard students do with their time.

Monday, 10 December 2012

You'll need heart and you'll need courage

Well I'm most definitely not a beauty blogger and I'm never going to try to be (I think I'd give half of them a heart attack if they saw my non-existant skin care regime...) but I thought I'd share my beautiful new lipstick with you all anyway. The dark berry colour matches my winter wardrobe perfectly (I knew having an all-burgundy wardrobe would pay off eventually!) and stays on pretty darn well even after several vodka lemonades... the ultimate test as far as my lipstick needs go! 

There's a definite difference between the quality of the pictures of the lipstick itself and the one of my actual face. My reasoning behind this? Benefit's pretty little products can handle close up photos from my zillion mega pixel DSLR, my face not so much so my phone had to take over. Least you get the idea. 

I'm not really sure what else there is to say about one little lipstick apart from the fact that it gets a big thumbs up from me. Very glad the Benefit counter took advantage of my ability to be easily persuaded into buying whatever stuff they put on my face. And I think that nicely rounds up the case for why I should never go into beauty blogging! 

Saturday, 8 December 2012

And everyone is singing, I hear those sleigh bells ringing

Last weekend was a very Christmassy one. York on the Saturday as you already know, then off to Manchester on the Sunday to see two of my old friends from school. I love Manchester so much, its somewhere that I used to go quite a lot in sixth form back in the days when Liverpool still wasn't very exciting for shopping, then when I moved to Leeds it was still a pretty convenient distance away for day trips shopping (one of my friends and I were very good at going there just before exams and pretending we lived a blissful English Language free existence). 

Anyway, the main point of our little trip was to exchange Christmas presents and wander round the INCREDIBLE Christmas Markets. However, a quick trip to TGI Friday turned into waiting for over an hour for food then ending up having to force free dessert down after a goodwill gesture from the manager because the waiter forgetting to put our food order through, so there wasn't too much time left for festivities. After wolfing down a starter, huge burger and the world's biggest waffle at lunchtime it left me too full to even think about eating any yummy market food. Wahhh. I'm off to the Leeds German Market this evening though so I'll make up for it there I'm sure. It may be small in comparison to Manchester's endless market stalls but you can still get a decent crepe and mulled wine... what more could a girl need?!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Because I want to see people and I want to see life

The start of the festive season, for as long as I can remember, has always been defined by a trip to York early in December with my parents. York has always been one of my favourite cities with its beautiful cobbled streets and quaint Christmassy charm, and despite the horrendous crowds, it still maintains a lovely cheerful atmosphere that you just don't experience on a Saturday in many other places.

This year, the annual Kaz and Papa T supermarket sweep style trip to Next to buy all my Mum's Christmas presents in the space of 15 minutes was replaced by a trip to York's Chocolate Story which was really interesting, largely due to the abundance of samples for visitors. I think my Mum might have engineered this chocolate filled detour to spare herself yet another year of socks, umbrellas and slippers from Next (its hard to be creative with present ideas for the woman whose mantra from mid-November onwards year in year out is "Don't buy me anything, I mean it, I don't need anything, don't worry about me"... my poor Mum agonises over buying everybody else the perfect present, god forbid we should try and return the favour).

Anyway, I was a bit too busy stuffing my face with samples  too engrossed in the Chocolate story to actually take any photos but I took plenty of pretty little pictures of festive York so I'll bore you to tears with those instead.