Podcasting

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I’ve talked before about wanting to turn Project Wonder Woman into a podcast series. Project Wonder Woman began as a personal project to…well, to get more out of life, I suppose. I wanted to feel happier, healthier and more at peace. Essentially, Project Wonder Woman is about being the best you that you can be.

The Project Wonder Woman podcast will be a monthly podcast, with a theme for each episode. I’m currently building a bank of themes for future episodes, with thinks like fitness, nutrition, finance, style…if it makes you feel good or improves your quality of life, it can be a theme. The intention is to have a guest each month with expertise in that episode’s theme. The rest of the episode will probably vary according to the theme, but will always contain my own thoughts, experiences and findings. I’d also love to include an ‘Inspiring Woman of the Month’ (if not multiple women!), which ideally, you guys will choose. You guys would send me your pick and why you find them inspiring, and I’ll pick a few to share on each episode.

I’m still deep in the planning stages, but I’d love to hear your thoughts. What themes for episodes would you like to hear about? Which women would you like to hear from in the guest slots? Who are your inspiring women?

Moving On

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Every cloud has a silver lining. In my personal cloud of horrid break-up, there’s a silver lining emerging. I’m moving. Very soon, I will no longer be in Coventry and will be moving (again) into Birmingham.

On Friday, I’m picking up the keys of my new home. It’s small, but I’m pleased with my choice and looking forward to having a space that’s all my own again. I’m already full of ideas of how to arrange my stuff, and I’m excited to have more space. I’m even going to have room for a small dining table! This is a new thing for me.

I won’t actually be moving in on Friday, just picking keys up. I’ve already ordered the internet for the new place, so hopefully the changeover won’t have an impact on posting (fingers crossed!).

So long, Coventry. Hello, Birmingham. I’m excited. Are you?

Friday Round Up

Loves, links and lomograms from the last week.

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1. My favourite days at work are the ones when my colleague’s mum sends us cake.
2. So. Much. Gin. This was my kind of event!
3. Blues skies over Birmingham.
4. New graffiti art at work, courtesy of Inkie, ready for the City Of Colours festival.

I’ll be honest. This week has been hard. I’ve been working hard to get through at work, and to be excited about moving, but it’s difficult. I found a flat I like and I’m waiting for the paperwork to process before I know if I have it or not. Logically, I know that I’ll be better off living in Birmingham, but there’s something very sad about leaving here. I don’t want to live in Coventry, but this flat is home. We chose this flat together, with an eye to staying here for a while. I had so many plans to make it perfect. It’s so sad to have lost it. I feel strange at the prospect of someone else living here so soon. We shared a home for such a short time.

That’s enough of the sads. I’ve got a couple of fun links for you this week.
24 Lies Friends Told You About Adult Life.
Game of Thrones Theme Song Played By Queen’s Guards.

BBC Big Read Update

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Last year, as part of 25 Before 25 list, I set myself the challenge of reading everything on the BBC Big Read Top 100 list. I’m a little over half way into the list with 61 books read. It seemed a good time to check in and let you know how I’m finding the challenge.

To begin with, I was pretty strict on myself about only reading things that were on the list. I’ve eased up lately, dipping into things I’ve been dying to read, or things that are on the reading list with the book club I’ve just joined. I don’t want reading to be a chore, and I think relaxing the rules helps that. No, I might not finish the list. With hefty, infamously tricky to read tomes like War and Peace and Ulysses on the list, getting through the last 49 books before my birthday in May might be a little ambitious. I fully intend to keep ploughing on though. I’d love to finish the list and will be making every effort to do so. But honestly, if read everything by the end of my 25th year, I’ll be happy.

Some of the books left are ones I’m not tripping over myself to read (cough, Ulysses, cough), but I have to admit, I’ll like being able to say I’ve read these books that are considered classics but impossible to read. The bonus of a challenge like this though is reading books I might not have picked up otherwise. I’ve really enjoyed some of the books I’ve read so far, and some of my favourites weren’t ones I’d have read off my own back. I’ve just finished Birdsong, which I loved. Beautiful, haunting and very moving, but properly not something I’d have picked myself. I’ve also read a lot more Dickens than I would have left to my own devices! I own Dickens, but find him very dry, and so would probably have left my reading of his work the occasional dip into something like Great Expectations. I loved David Copperfield though, and am so glad I read it.

It’s also been a great way to clear my ‘To Read’ list. I buy a lot of books, and they often wait a long while to get read. Memoirs Of A Geisha was on my bookshelf before I moved away from Hereford. God knows how long it would have waited to be read if it wasn’t on the list. I’ve also finally got round to reading more Terry Pratchett, and reading some classics I’d been intending to, like Anna Karenina and Tess Of The D’Ubervilles.

So far, I think the only book I haven’t enjoyed was The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, which read too much like a manifesto with minimal plot stuck round the edges. Hopefully, that streak continues and I carry on enjoying pretty much everything off this list!

Have any of you set yourself this challenge? What have you read, loved and loathed from this list? Let me know! If any of you are on Goodreads, please do add me!

London Adventures

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Last week, before Comic Con, I spent a few days just outside of London, staying with family. Mum and I decided to play tourist and check out some of the London attractions we haven’t visited yet. We’ve done most of the museums and art galleries over the years, and things like the London Eye, but there’s still a few on the list to visit.

Our first port of call was the Sherlock Holmes Museum. Not quite located at 221B Baker Street (it’s actually a little bit further up, and 221B is part of a bigger building next to it) but with that famous number emblazoned over the door anyway, there was quite a queue when we arrived. I do wonder if the museum confuses some visitors, as it is entirely treated as though Sherlock Holmes was a real person. The guide leaflet states that the famous study is set up ‘as it was’, from the writings of Dr Watson. The series of rooms is filled with artifacts from Holmes’ most famous cases, Watson’s diaries and letters written by Holmes. By the way, keen Holmes fans will be pleased to know that there are indeed 17 steps on the staircase from the front hall to the study. The museum is small, and it was quite a squeeze to actually look at anything much, but it was fun spotting different bits from the cases I remember. The upstairs was full of slightly creepy waxworks, including the infamous Irene Adler. There was a also a huge scrapbook filled with letters that people have written to Holmes, including one plea from a little girl hoping he could help find her lost cat. I hope she found him, even without the Great Detective.

Next, we paid a visit to Churchill’s War Rooms. The rooms are hidden underneath Westminster, and were Churchill’s hub of operations during WWII. This was my favourite visit of the week, I think. The museum is fascinating; when the war ended, the rooms were just locked and left entirely intact (complete with one officer’s sugar ration still locked in the top drawer of his desk!) until Thatcher decided to open them as a museum in the 1980s. The virtually untouched rooms are remarkable. Churchill had a direct telephone link with America to speak to the President, and the army officers had a complex network of phones to communicate with various department heads in secret. I particularly enjoyed the recordings from staff who worked there during the war, and their recollections of the strange, secretive working life they led. Definitely worth a visit.

Last on the list was Westminster Abbey. The abbey is one of London’s most visited attractions, so expect to queue! Armed with an audio guide, we roamed the vast space, pausing to look at the huge, impressive tombs and memorials. There are some fantastic things to see in the abbey, with beautiful windows, tombs of royals including Elizabeth I and memorials for some incredible people. I was a touch over excited by Poet’s Corner, with it’s tombs and memorials for everyone from Chaucer to Ted Hughes.

Where’s your favourite place to visit in London?

London Film and Comic Con – LFCC 2014

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Last weekend was one for some serious geekery at LFCC 2014. Earl’s Court was taken over by all things comics, cosplay and…something else beginning with C.

We’re regularly visitors to MCM’s Expo, but this is the first time we’ve done London Film and Comic Con. I preferred this to MCM, definitely. There were less cosplayers, but the cosplayers we saw were incredible. Proper Stormtroopers, every version imaginable of Captain America, the world’s cutest Thor costume worn by a toddler and more Firefly cosplayers than I’ve ever seen before.

I shipped out in my Kaylee costume, deciding I didn’t need the rest of the crew. I’m glad I did, as I found at least one of every other member of Serenity’s crew, and a Reaver. It was awesome. I was accompanied on Saturday by Spidergirl, Dark Phoenix and Gambit. On Sunday, I swapped them for Loki, Thor and Black Widow.

The stalls were great, again with more Firefly stuff than I’m used to. I was disappointed in the comic stalls themselves though; I found ONE stall stocking Wonder Woman and they were all special editions selling for about £40 each. No, ta. I did spend a small fortune on Firefly gear, so obviously left happy.

The weekend was honestly exactly what I needed. Doing something I’d usually have done with Tom was worrying me and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. Spending a weekend with my mates, chasing down awesome cosplays and being stopped for selfies with Kaylee fans was fantastic, and made me feel much, much happier. I had a small blip of upset getting home on Monday (there’s a flatness after an event like this, and going home to Coventry isn’t so fun), but since then, the more positive mood has carried on.

I think the cheerfulness was definitely helped along by catching up with a certain charming panto prince who’s been showing up on TV screens a lot lately…

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It’s always nice to catch up with people after so long, and I’m so excited for how well he’s doing. And he gives the best hugs.

Scenes From My Weekend – Tredegar House and Penarth Pier

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Is it just me or does your social calender get full after a break-up? My friends and family are busy arranging outings for me, as though I will spontaneously combust if I am left alone for more than ten minutes. Not to sound ungrateful of course, keeping busy makes things much easier. And to be fair, they’re probably right. Left alone last night, I spent it eating Quavers and Jelly Babies, roaming the flat like a lost ghost and listening to Adele’s 21 album and I Know Him So Well from Chess on repeat.

Saturday was spent exploring Tredegar House, a National Trust property just outside Newport. Tredegar House was originally owned by the Morgan family, until two of the family blew through the family fortune by having insanely extravagant parties in the 1920s and 1930s. Those must have been some wild parties…

Tredergar is a beautiful house, and the National Trust are gradually opening more rooms since they took it over in 2012. The house is set up to reflect three eras of the properties history; 17th century when the house was built, the Victorian era when the estate was at it’s most powerful, and the 1930s, when the parties were raging. The park and gardens are gorgeous too, although I was slightly confused by the presence of a Dalek in the stables. I hope this is just because Tredegar House has been used as a filming location so often by Dr Who, and not because the Dalek invasion has begun.

On Sunday, I was on Penarth Pier, which has just had a fancy makeover, with a new cafe, cinema and art gallery, which makes a nice change from the usual tacky arcade.

On a side note, thanks to those of you who’ve been sending me kind words and love this week. It’s really appreciated. To be brutally honest…I’m not in a good place at all right now and I’m pretty miserable. Things are moving in the right direction though, and I should hopefully have somewhere to live pretty soon. The sooner I’m moved, the better!

100 Happy Days

The 100 Happy Days Challenge is complete. 100 pictures of small moments of happiness, taken over 100 days. It’s quite bittersweet, I must say. I’m proud of completing, and there’s some nice little moments in there I might have missed otherwise.

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The challenge finished on Thursday. Tom broke up with me on Friday. Unwittingly, I documented the last 100 days of my relationship. So many of the pictures are of things connected with that relationship. Tom is in there a couple of times, days and evenings spent together, snippets of the home we shared, time with his family…I’ve made a record of happy moments I won’t have again. If I’d known…

I started the project before Tom got his job in Cambridge, and I struggled for a week or two to find the moments to document after he was gone. And now he really is gone. Those pictures of my home, of the little changes I was so excited about as I gradually made that flat ours…it already isn’t home. Pretty soon, I won’t live there. I worked hard to find things I liked in Coventry, to make it somewhere I wanted to be. It feels like time wasted now.

I wanted to have a collection of photos from the 100 Happy Days to look back on that I would find cheering and that would help me remember those first things I found to enjoy about Coventry, the early changes of a home I thought we’d share for a long time, the small, silly moments like making treats in the kitchen, being excited to have him home…The pictures are all here. I’m a completist, and wanted to share the complete challenge, but I think this will be the last time I look at them. I don’t want to look through, and wonder at what point in that challenge we weren’t happy after all.

Wishlist: French Connection

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All words, thoughts and opinions in this post are my own and entirely honest. If you’d like to know more about my disclosure policy, you can read about it here.

French Connection is not somewhere I generally shop, but I think that might have to change. Perusing their website had my virtual basket full to the brim in no time, with classic pieces in great cuts, made all the sweeter by the fact that they’re having a massive sale right now. French Connection isn’t cheap, but there’s some great bargains on real quality items to be found at the moment. Here’s some of my favourites:

I found lots to love in the dress section.

 Apparently, all I want is the fit and flare shape. All these beauties are in the sale, and I think are pretty excellent wardrobe staples. Wearable shapes, but great details, like the bright prints and the neon strips. Depending on how formal your dress code is, I can see these working for the office, as well as for fun. These three are pretty good examples of the whole dress collection. The dresses are all in flattering shapes that most women could wear, but they’re kept interesting with gorgeous prints, bright colours or other little details.

I found a lot of great tops too.

If anyone would like to buy me the shirt, I’d be more than happy to accept that gift. I love the collar detailing, it’s beautiful, but so simple as well. Yes please! French Connection rule pretty patterns too, I think. Check that floral print. Cuteness. The pink shirt is something I could wear to work, I think, and that drapey top is the ultimate pairing for jeans and heels at the weekend.

Who’s a French Connection fan? If you are, you do not want to miss this sale.

Breaking Up

This is going to be a stream of consciousness type of post, so be warned; it’s a rambling one.

Bloggers often talk about the rosy lens that gets put over their life when they share it online. Most of us, while we share a lot, tend to stay pretty positive. When something goes wrong, it can be very, very difficult to share. For me, I get caught somewhere in a desire for privacy, but also wanting to be honest. I wanted to share what happened this weekend, because in all likelihood, there’s going to be an effect on my blog. There’ll be a notable absence of someone you’re used to seeing mentioned a lot, and to be honest, I’ll probably be around less myself while I get my life and head together.

On Friday night, Tom and I split up. He’s working away in Cambridge at the moment, and unfortunately, our relationship has become something he doesn’t have the time for. It’s something I’ve seen happen to several friends. Boyfriend works and lives with a lot of single guys, and it becomes that nights out with the boys make the relationship seem like a chore they don’t want to deal with, when they could live responsibility free. Essentially, I’ve had a spectacularly horrible weekend of heartbreaking phone calls (top tip gents, if you’re living with a girl, don’t break up with her over the phone. It’s really, really awful and painful) and scrambling to sort out where the hell I’m going to live, after our lease ran out on Saturday.

At the moment, I’m still in the shell-shock state. This is easily the worst way I’ve ever been split up with, but right now there’s so much practical stuff I need to sort out with our flat, and finding myself somewhere else to live, so I’m mostly just pushing through as best I can, particularly as it seems I’ll be the one dealing with the old flat and sorting that out.

It’s incredible how little you can know someone, and the horrible things they’re capable of. It’s also amazing how much love there is between friends. I went home to Mum on Saturday morning, and was immediately fully booked for the next fortnight with friends and family wanting to help, even if just keeping me company. You all know who you are. Thank you.

As for Caramel Latte Kiss…well, there’s a lot to sort out over the next few weeks. I’m aiming to keep as busy as possible, so I don’t crumble completely, so hopefully it won’t be too quiet around here, but there might a drop in regular posting. Thanks in advance for your patience with this, and I promise things will be back to normal as soon as possible. Breaking up is the actual worst.