A glimpse of Hogwarts

Took a little stroll in the early evening, off the beaten track, through the graveyard meadow that overlooks the River Weir… and Durham Cathedral*. Stopped to take this photo of the Cathedral framed by a canopy of leaves. It was a beautiful day, warm, the town teeming with people – a mix of locals ready for the weekend, and students relieved to have finished their exams…
I still have one exam to go, but I am glad to have the extra time to do a bit more revision. It’s hard to frown when the weather is so beautiful, the city so magical and when you realise that southern fried chicken is for tea!

*I got an invite to dinner in the Cathedral recently which was followed by drinks in a Victorian pub. This city has a lot of character, that’s for sure.

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Spiders that lurk in the night…

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 Revising grammar (it’s really not the most exciting of pursuits, but needs must) listening to electro-swing and daydreaming, as per usual. I’ve actually run out of diet coke and have moved onto instant coffee… Instant coffee is a bit tragic, isn’t it? But not as tragic as the discovery of this creature in the shower… If you have arachnophobia then please look away now.. if not, then please meet my new acquaintance.

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I feel like Bear Grylls or Indiana Jones* right now, having managed to trap this spider (which was on the CEILING) under a wine glass (so classy) with minimal yelping on my part. I just hope that the spider wasn’t distressed by its upheaval from my wonderful shower spa haven… Can I class him as the first customer of my imaginary spa and teahouse business/speakeasy? I christened him Hector Elizondo, in an attempt to make him seem less terrifying but I’m afraid it hasn’t really worked… Anyway, here is some electro-swing to get our minds off of spiders that lurk in the corners of showers!

*Indiana Lou? Sounds quite cool.

Lou-Lou-Louche

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What’s your vice? My vices are painting my nails (somewhat messily at times), finding comfort in the bubbles of a diet coke and hoarding lotions and potions of all sorts on my make up counter. I guess I could open a spa and teahouse from my room, there’s enough soap and varieties of herbal tea in here to last a lifetime (…or at least a couple of years).

I’m not doing anything wildly exciting at the moment, just preparing for exams. Hence the pictures of nails on my blog instead of wild tales of adventure and discovery. However, it’s still possible to find delight in little things. This morning I went to the library at ridiculous o’clock in the morning (around five am) with a pal, and then we watched the sun rise whilst sat on a gnarled tree in a nearby wood. We didn’t have a camera, but imagine if you will, two students surrounded by bluebells and library books scattered across a carpet of greenery…

We walked back through the Botanic Gardens, stopping en route by a large pond near the Psychology building to look at baby tadpoles wriggling in the shallows. It was such a lovely start to the day…

Iridescence - Glittery Polishes and the Beauty of Vanessa Paradis

The sparkliest of nails. Natural lighting, with a vignette added. This is 2 coats of OPI “What Wizardry is This? with 2 coats of OPI “Which is Witch?” layered on top. Potentially a tad excessive but there you go. I have tried a few other combinations and will post them sometime in the future, when my hands look less ravaged! “What Wizardry is this?” is best on its own, but I felt like spicing it up a little anyhow! “Which Witch” has big chunks of glitter that have a wow factor, with little pieces of bar glitter also visible if you hold your nails up close! I apologise for the quality of the photo, it would be interesting to get a macro shot, but alas my decent DSLR is in Guernsey – the overdue library books had to take precedence in my luggage. Such is life! I have a lot of revision to do, and I’m listening to a lot of French music. I’ve only just managed to get “Bonnie and Clyde” by Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot out of my head.
Currently I am listening to Vanessa Paradis:

I am a big fan of Vanessa Paradis – I think she is extremely elegant and classy. The thought of listening to her today actually occurred to me after having painted my nails…. I think the look of the glitter that I used on my nails is very similar to the look/effect of the lighting used in another of her music videos, “Divinidylle”, in that the glitter is striking (almost blinding) and reflects many colours… just like the spotlight on Vanessa.

Both these songs date from a few years ago! However, Vanessa Paradis’ new album called “Love Stories” will be out on May 13th. I just find her voice sultry and captivating and I wish her every success with her new album.

Magpie Nails

Today, I present to you a photo of the Glitter polishes from the OPI Oz collection. I initially wanted to buy them from Duty free in the airport but there ended up being no time in between my flights. When I had got to Durham, the only scrap of collection left was one bottle of the Liquid Sand polish as the glitters had sold out… My poor little bottle alone as all her pals had deserted her*… so I resorted to ASOS, which gave me a student discount. Thank you ASOS.

When these colours are worn, it looks as if a Unicorn has exploded all over my nails. Not the easiest look to pull off, but glittery nails do make me smile every time they catch the light. My two favourites are “Lights of Emerald City” and “What Wizardry is this?… the latter is is a liquid sand polish and I am impressed with the textured effect. In my opinion, it’s a lot more stylish and wearable than the liquid sand polishes featured in the ‘Mariah Carey’ collection.

Congratulations if you have read this far, I know not everyone likes polish, but I do like to document what I’ve bought from time to time! I didn’t buy any of the OZ ‘Soft Shades’ because none of them overly appealed to me, however the glitters work well over OPI Bubblebath and OPI Don’t Pretzel My Buttons.

*Personifying the bottle reminds me of a story I wrote once with my Dad about a lemonade bottle who was left alone on a skip and longed to be recycled. Green conscious from a young age or too many reruns of “The Brave Little Toaster”? You tell me!

Joyeux Anniversaire Miss Audrey

It’s a cliché student poster of a cultural icon, tacked onto the back of a worn door, covering up unsightly notices. The carpet is navy blue with orange specks, and looks like out of place, like it should belong in a conference room rather than the sanctuary of a 20 something student, the blue clashing with the hues of delicate baby pink, magenta and white dotted throughout the room.

I’m sure that I am one of many girls who have such a poster – often bought down at the union or in a university building, in an attempt to add a touch of elegance to a cold and clinical room. This poster is just one of many artworks, books and trinkets featuring Audrey that I have acquired over the years, zig zagging across Europe from room to room, objects given to me by artistic friends and close family.

Audrey would have been 84 today – here is to the memory of a charitable icon, to a talented polyglot and to the pinnacle of poise. In memory of a woman whose presence on screen still brings comfort and joy to many, years after her passing. Happy Birthday Audrey Hepburn!

Fond memories of my room in Konstanz
Fond memories of my room in Konstanz

Porte-Bonheur

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It’s the first of May! In many countries this day is known as National Labour Day, however in France, the first of May is also known as La Fête du Muguet. Muguet translates as Lily of the Valley, and it is customary to give sprigs of Muguet to your loved ones in the first week of May to wish them good luck. My french grandmother always sends me a Lily of the Valley card to commemorate this date, and this year was no exception. I received a beautiful scented card in the post, which was a wonderful start to my week. I think that flowers in general are wonderful, as   you can see from all the photos of floral arrangements scattered all over this blog! However, in my opinion, Muguet is a very special flower indeed, as it represents the sentiments of love and luck and can travel from afar in the frailest of envelopes!

I leave you with a video of Christian Dior’s 1954 Muguet dress to admire! This floral motif has been used often by Dior in jewellery, clothing and perfume.

P.S. Good Luck!