The Loulabell

The aforementioned cocktail of flowers. Yes, that is an umbrella wielding parrot that you see. He was presented to me in a ‘Mutiny’ Sundae that I ate last week with Alex and Catherine. It was snowing outside but OBVIOUSLY the weather was tropical in our hearts…

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My room is not a speakeasy…

But if it were, it would not have prohibited alcohol to offer right now, but several varieties of herbal tea*

And electro swing music.

* I lie. I could offer the reader the dregs of a bottle of Kahlua. Student life is so darn fancy.I could also offer flowers in a cocktail glass. AND ALL THE GLITTER.

Goth with a Coffee Cup

I went to a 22nd birthday party… It was Depeche Mode themed, with dress code “Funeral Chic”. (Hey, I guess it takes all sorts) I wore my everyday clothes but transitioned from day to night by cracking out a 2012 Mac Lipstick in ‘Dramatic Encounter’ and applying it along with a lot of eyeliner… Dramatic enough??

PS…. and I found a coffee cup.

Tartan Blizzards and Golden Bunting

Well, hasn’t it been frosty in Durham!

I celebrated Burns’ Night  on the 25th January at a Formal wearing a retro 1940s style tartan dress, conquered my fear of haggis and ran barefoot in the snow… I felt like a real warrior after my sprint across a snowy meadow, I can tell you!

It has snowed a lot over the past week, and apart from that one crazy moment that I mentioned earlier, where I was at one with the snow, I have embraced the harsh weather by wearing lots of faux fur. My favourite furry hat that I bought about two years from Topshop had a revival, I last wore it in Clermont in early 2012 when it was -15 degrees! I also acquired a burgundy faux fur collar in the January sales for £6.00, which I was very excited about.

Talking about excitement, I also got a glittery package full of treats from Forever21 –  My favourite item was the necklace pictured below – which looks like a delicate string of black and gold bunting. I discovered Forever21, which is an american fashion chain, for the first time in Manchester in late 2012. Late one night in mid January, on an essay editing break, I made the discovery that they also ship to the UK. And that they do insanely cheap online deals. What started in Manchester as a flirtation with Forever 21, buying 2 pairs of earrings and a pair of wedge boots for under £30.00 went to the next level…*

*Here, I would like to add that thanks to 50% off 50%, the total amount of my online purchases was also under £30.00, for 4 pairs of earrings, a pussy bow blouse, 2 hair slides, a bow hairband, and 2 necklaces. Not bad!

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(Ornate Earrings and Triangle Necklace, both Forever 21)

I love the Forever21 accessory range. When worn, I find that they get complimented a lot.  As I mentioned earlier, I managed to benefit from their 50% off 50% deal, and so got quite a few products very cheaply.  I find that, although cheap, the accessories look quite classy –  this combination of chic and low price range makes for ideal presents. Indeed, my mum will be getting some great earrings on her birthday in February!

Continuing along with my theme of being a sucker for accessories, I recently perused a local Durham hair and beauty shop, and was delighted to find a limited edition OPI James Bond topcoat – ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’ – reduced from £30.00 to £7.25. The nail varnish is a clear topcoat with 18k gold flecks. It definitely adds a flash of “Look at me, I’m oh so sassy and GOLDEN” to any manicure. When it comes to OPI nail varnish, I can be a bit of a vulture, preying on the bottles of glitter and online reviews for a while before I swoop in and purchase one or two that I like. Reports that there will be a new collection featuring Mariah Carey and “Liquid Sand” textures may deter me for a while however…. watch this space.

I’m not just interested in retail therapy however. I have been hitting the books… I have twenty books out from the University Library, ranging from critiques on Bertolt Brecht and Georges Perec, Laclos and André Gide and have hit my maximum library book loan limit…. hmmm, best get reading then!

Toodles!

Huzzah for Duzza

Because who doesn’t love snow and lecturers who give you carambar on a frosty morning?
For any French speakers out there, I include the hilariously bad joke that I discovered on my carambar wrapper…

Quel acteur est une copie de lui-même?
George Cloné

BADOM BOM TSCHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Top notch entertainment from carambar, as always.

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Onto the main theme of this post…. SNOW. For someone who comes from an Island with quite a mild climate, where it almost never snows, I am always amazed by snow. (If ever a centimetre was to fall on Guernsey, radio warnings would go out ordering everyone to stay off the PERILOUSLY ICY roads. If this occurred during term time, we would get the day off school. I still have fond memories of these snow days… but all the snow would thaw by the end of the day)

IN DURHAM THERE IS REAL SNOW. THEY DON’T KNOW PERILOUS CONDITIONS. However I am no snow leopard. I am not used to these climes. And often, I become Bambi on ice. I slip, I slide, even when I am wearing Doc Martens.

Around this time last year, when I was living in France, I had the opportunity to go skiing for a day for the almost unbelievably low price of ten euros. I had such a brilliant time; eating st nectaire (cheese) in the mountains, wearing bright aqua salopettes, and trying to avoid causing collisions on the button lift (or as it is delicately known in French…the tire-fesse) Being surrounded by snow and chalets was an incredible feeling and I really hope to ski some more one day. But until now, just the sight of snow will suffice… However… although it is very beautiful in Durham, I still miss the snowcapped volcanoes of Clermont, the crisp icy feeling of walking home on powdered pavements after a midnight tram ride…. and I also miss the stunning view across the Bodensee of the snow covered mountains on the Swiss/German border of Konstanz.

I digress, here are some pictures of a snowy northern city.

(In the first picture…. has our stag mascot been visited by his friend the Yeti? This made me smile at ten am in the morning… small things!)

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The third picture down is the view from my window. Aren’t I lucky to have such a lovely fairytale view? (Maybe I am over exaggerating… it’s the snow that has gone to my head!)

Back in the Tundra

I have been back at University for a couple of days now… still not really unpacked! Most of my clothes and bits are still in suitcases/underbed storage… the only things I took out were my bedding, books that I need for my essays and my prized and oversized Cheshire cat (to sit on my desk and alleviate the essay tension)

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I had two flights on sunday and was really tired when I landed at Newcastle airport. I was a diva. I coerced some unsuspecting guys into helping me with stiff luggage trolleys and my million* suitcases (Hey, if I can have 40kg for free for being a student from the Channel Islands, I will pack enough books to fill a library.. and will also pack several accessories. It is winter after all, the season of endless possibilities for coat/hat/scarf combinations)

I had booked a taxi for one from the airport, however the taxi firm I had booked tried to fit me into a tiny car with three other people and all their suitcases – the boot wouldn’t actually shut – so I ditched and caught a ride with some guys from Jersey (same guys I forced to help me with my stuff, shameless) which actually worked out cheaper than the other driver had quoted. Twenty pounds vs Eleven pounds…

So, anyway, I had a pleasant drive in a spacious car with leather seats, admired the Angel of the North and chatted until we arrived and I was dropped off back at college to be greeted with….
PRESENTS.

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A golden flamingo from my friend Ina and some dessert rubbers from Ellie – suitably random. For now they will decorate this clinical room bare of all my posters and sparkle until I am done with my assignments.

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The macaron necklace I mentioned has been unpacked… behind you can see my pitifully empty noticeboard.

I woke up this morning to snow ^^ My room looks out over the Botanical Gardens of the University – currently blanketed in snow – and it really makes for a beautiful winter woodland scene. I will post some photos… for now just imagine me in a snowy Narnia or forest scene from Bambi 😉

*three. I had three suitcases. And a satchel. I snuck two pieces of hand luggage onto my flight. Stealthy old me

Holidays and Macarons

Some snapshots from a belated French Christmas ! New Years Eve was celebrated with copious amounts of seafood and sweets…I partially overcame my phobia of eating fish, a phobia that has made me awkward to cater for around French christmas time in the past, (ie. the past 20 years where my family have had to grit their teeth and come up with alternatives for me every mealtime…) and had some salmon. I wasn’t brave enough to tackle the oysters or shellfish, though.

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We spent two days in Paris with my aunt, uncle and cousin, as well as spending time with my Grandparents in Rouen. In Paris we visited Montmartre and the Avenue des Champs-Élysées   – it has become a tradition that we walk in all the arcades along the avenue each time we visit Paris. I was thrilled that the queue for the Ladurée Boutique was virtually non-existent (from the outside, at least)… I finally had the opportunity to channel my inner Blair Waldorf and buy a box of the pastel treats to share with my family… (ok, Blair would NOT share her macarons, but I don’t think I would ever be able to eat a box by myself) My favourites were salted caramel and bubblegum – bubblegum sounds like a bizarre flavour but it worked! The cakes also looked exquisite but they will have to wait for another visit.

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I bought a very girly (as in the target market was probably for five year olds) macaron necklace from a street seller in Rouen. I had been after one of those necklaces for ages – once I get an idea in my head, I refuse to let it go! It’s nice to have a memento – along with the macaron box – of this wonderful wintertime spent in France with my family.

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