Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Statement Jewels

 Necklace: c/o Happiness Boutique 

I love statement necklaces. It's probably such a blogger cliché to own as many as I do but I can never get bored of them. For me it's all part of getting dressed, I'm rarely seen without a statement piece.

The lovely German folks at Happiness Boutique let me have free reign over their shop and let me choose a necklace. This was so much harder than necessary because everything on their website is stunning. I had about ten tabs open with different necklaces before settling on the 'Gala Statement Necklace'. I don't own anything like this and it feels so luxurious. I get so many compliments when I wear this and it always makes me feel amazing. The packaging the necklace came in was beautiful as well, and it comes with instructions on how to best take care of your new necklace which is always appreciated.

Statement necklaces are the easiest way to dress up an outfit and add instant glamour. I like to leave my outfits simple but chic to let the necklace do the talking which explains why I'm, nearly always dressed in black or grey. Adding some bright lipstick gives you that extra attitude. My go-to pink is the amazing Satin Lip Pencil by NARS in Yu, buttery soft but with super long lasting power. 

Vielen Dank to Happiness Boutique for the necklace, I really can't recommend the website and their services enough.



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Saturday, 25 October 2014

Romance & Love For Beginners: Tinder


I have joined Tinder. All for the sake of research for this series of course.

The way we humans find new ways of communicating never ceases to amaze me. Even I as a baby of the internet boom find it overwhelming that we are flooded with apps that help us communicate and date. I have actually joined an internet dating site in the past as a joke and the relationship that sprang out of that was pretty good (at least I would say that, you might want to double check with him though). So buoyed by a sense of optimism that the last venture into virtual dating went so well I pressed download on the iTunes store to see what all the fuss was about.

If anyone has actually come out of Tinder with a serious and well functioning relationship please let me know because so far, as was to be expected, Tinder has done little to inspire confidence in the opposite gender.

What I have seen on Tinder so far:
  • Men in vests. So many vests.
  • The same hair cuts (shorn on the bottom, long comb over on top).
  • Questionable tattoos.
  • Pseudo famous rugby/football/hockey/sports players.
  • Men in vests at a Fullmoon Party in Thailand.
  • Gym 'selfies'.
  • Men with tigers.
  • Beards. Lots of bears.
  • Terrible grammar use.
  • Calls to add Harry/James/Bob on Snapchat/Facebook/Instagram/Twitter
  • Over use of the winky face.

Aside from this issue, the first difficulty of Tinder is trying to write up a profile description. I struggled to make myself sound appealing. How much information is too much information and what kind of stuff should you say about yourself? My 'honest to God' profile would be:
23 year old German who prefers to stay in with Netflix and food to 'clubbing'. Dreams of being a cat lady. Owns a life-size cut out of Queen Elizabeth II and lots of ugly knitwear.
I realise that that makes me sound undateable. I am going to die alone (with my cats and Liz II).

My actual Tinder profile:
German, 4ft11. Food and gin enthusiast.
Short and sweet. Covers the bare essentials but also shows my favourite things. I also sound boring (which I probably am).

The conversations that I have with my 'matches' can only really be described as painful. That's keeping in line with the real life dating world where first encounters are equally awkward. Only this has more emojis.  I have successfully dodged a NSFW picture and after the initial discussions of the merits of gin the conversation peters to silence. This is not my arena but I amuse myself by spending the X Factor advert breaks swiping through the men on Tinder, wondering why it is that some men have better eyebrows than me and hoping that deep v-necked vests go out of fashion soon.

As far as I'm concerned Tinder is not the place for love or romance, keep your expectations low or just give Tinder a wide berth.

Have you got any Tinder stories to share?

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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Post Dissertation Comedown

From mid July until October 3rd my life revolved around two things: my first 'grown up' (read: real) job and my 20,000 word dissertation. I look back at those past couple of months and quite frankly I barely remember them. All that I can remember is this constant and inbuilt panic I seemed to be feeling. I would get home from work at half 5, relax for half an hour and would then write my dissertation. Sometimes I wouldn't even bother having dinner because it took up too much time. I barely had a social life. I did my best to see some friends and I might have had quite a big night out that involved lots of gin, but basically my life was dedicated to work and my dissertation.

Now that that awful chapter is behind me I'm suddenly left with having free time. It's almost an alien concept to me. I've been in education non stop since I started school, no gap year for me. After my undergraduate I went straight onto my masters. Now I am just like any normal person, I get up go to work and come home. There are endless options of things to do and it feels strange to be in a position where I don't feel like my heart is tensing up with stress. It's almost a comedown because after all the stress and tears of the past few months everything else is plain sailing.


Right after I took my dissertation to the printers I just sat in Bute Park with a celebratory slice of Victoria Sponge and cup of Earl Grey, enjoying the peace and feeling like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I was also feeling very proud that I'd survived it all and got through it by myself and with the support of my friends. I have no family whatsoever here so my friends were my rock and cheered me on through it all.

During my dissertation I didn't have the will or the energy to focus on any text that wasn't related to my research. Since handing it in, I've been able to actually enjoy reading for fun again and rediscovering some old favourites. It's amazing this 'free time' business.


I've also been enjoying the freedom of back to back Netflix episodes and not feeling the least bit guilty about watching 240 minutes of Cillian Murphy (YES PLEASE). I've also noticed that the American Netflix has ALL the seasons of One Tree Hill available. I know what I'll be doing this weekend.


I'm so happy that I'm no longer a social recluse and that I can explore Cardiff all over again. It seems like these past few months whilst I was stress crying over interview transcripts and methodology, lots of new shops opened up that I had never seen before. Last weekend I finally popped into Home By Kirsty, which is basically how I want my house to look. I also dragged some friends to check out Science Cream which I think was worth the wait. Making ice cream with nitrogen is probably a bit of a gimmick and a bit trendy but it was very tasty and quite the novelty.

I'm really enjoying this new found freedom and my little routines that I'm building for myself. Post work is dedicated to yoga, cooking, a bit of Netflix and reading books. Friday is for after work socialising with my colleagues and weekends are always spent with the best company and great food. I'm so pleased with the way my life is going now, I feel very in control and content with it all. Doing all the hard work over the summer has paid off and being able to live my life the way I want is the reward for it all. Happy happy happy.  

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Friday, 17 October 2014

Romance & Love For Beginners: The First Date - The Awkward One

I'm not very good at dating. I always seem to dive in head first and demand love, happiness, full devotion and constant affection, I know that makes me sound like an insane woman from a Katherine Heigl romcom.  I'm working on it.  Generally casual dating is not really my thing, I need to learn to handle that better. So in an attempt to learn to play it cool I haphazardly agreed to go out for dinner with the Man from Flat 3, a 28 year old barrister (of the law kind, not Starbucks). He caught me in a moment of weakness and my mind was shouting "Test the waters! See what kinds of different guys are out there! Play the field! Beyoncé would say yes!"

On paper he was ticking a lot of boxes on my list but as you will soon see, the list is a fiendishly misleading guide for how people translate into real life.

I got to choose the restaurant (Potted Pig - one of Cardiff's best restaurants). Saturday night was agreed, the dinner reservation (presumably) made by him, I bought some fancy trousers (dogtooth cigarette from Topshop in case anyone is interested) because why not? My romantic interests in Man from Flat 3 were (and are) non existent, but I thought worse case scenario is that the conversation is awkward, but at least I know the food will be good and maybe we can strike up enough of a friendship that when I need a lightbulb fixing (not an innuendo) he can help.

Too much hope too soon.

Saturday morning, the morning of the date night.  My iPhone vibrates angrily.  Man from Flat 3 says he's too poor to afford taking me to dinner, and would I mind terribly if he cooked for me in his flat?  I do mind.  I have just spent £40 on half of an outfit (reckless in hindsight) and was considering wearing heels.  I am slightly annoyed and see the red flag being hoisted.  My twitter pals persist and say: "positive spin, he's being honest". I am inclined to disagree. Don't offer to take a girl out for dinner if you can't afford it maybe? Regardless, rather disheartened I hang my trousers away for a better date. 

Did I cancel? No. Should I have? Probably. But if I had cancelled I would have looked like I was only after a nice dinner in The Potted Pig. Which would have been a tiny bit true. I am tempted to be 'ill'. But I'm too much of a nice person and feel guilty.  So I agree, 8 o'clock and yes risotto sounds good. My friends console me and say that at least the walk of shame to my flat is short. I remained unimpressed, or amused. My friends are not comedians.

Long story short; I wore my ASOS smock dress which is covered in cats and didn't brush my hair. The risotto was undercooked in places and he'd forgotten to cut out the seeds of the butternut squash.  After dessert (Tesco finest salted caramel something or other out of a plastic box) we sat on the sofa with a glass of wine and had Match of the Day on.  My friends and co-workers keep saying "You have to kiss a few frogs to find your prince". Well this frog wasn't even kissed.  I fled up the corridor to my flat before he could hug or kiss me goodbye.

Am I sad? Not in the slightest. I'm more annoyed because now I have to power walk past Flat 3 every day and dive into my flat before he can come out. It's also rather inconvenient as he always seems to be the one who signs for my ASOS parcels when I'm at work, and then leaves them leaning against my front door rather pointedly. He's also somehow managed to get me to agree to having a drink with him sometime. I said yes but I think that may purely be to get some writing material which seems a little mean and extortionary. I may rethink that one.

The romance lesson from this episode: don't ever go on a date with your neighbour no matter how persistent they may be. It's probably not worth it.


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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Romance & Love For Beginners

Love and romance. We all want it, not all of us have it. When we have it we don't treasure it nearly enough and when we don't have it the world seems to revolve around it. It's the subject of countless films, some get it right and some films just give us completely false expectations (we'll talk about that one later). There's millions of songs about love and love songs that last through the ages, songs to cry to after a break up and songs that remind you there's always new love around the corner.

So much has been written about love and romance, but some people have said it better than I ever could:

“Love is blind and lovers cannot see, the pretty follies that themselves commit” - William ShakespeareThe Merchant of Venice

“Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself, Love possesses not nor would it be possessed: For love is sufficient unto love.” ― Khalil Gibran, The Prophet 
“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.” ― Neil Gaiman 
“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” ― Robert A. Heinlein 
"I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” ― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey 
 “Anyone who falls in love is searching for the missing pieces of themselves. So anyone who's in love gets sad when they think of their lover. It's like stepping back inside a room you have fond memories of, one you haven't seen in a long time.” ― Haruki Murakami
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ― Lao Tzu 
“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.” ― James Baldwin 
“Who, being loved, is poor?” ― Oscar Wilde 
"Love can change a person the way a parent can change a baby- awkwardly, and often with a great deal of mess." — Lemony Snicket 
My recent (and continuous) bout of singledom has actually allowed me to take a step back and really take a closer look at love and romance. The older I get the more interested I am in it.  I've heard horror stories from friends about dates and boyfriends but I've also seen people I go to school with get married and start their lives together. There must be something to it. What makes men tick? Why are some dates amazing and why are some just the worst? How do you get back on the dating scene after a bad break up? How do you deal with unwanted advances? How do relationships stay good? What happens if it all goes wrong? Basically, romance and love is one crazy battlefield. 

I've started dipping my toe into the world of dating again.  But I'm going in with a fresh mind and with the intention to just go with it and not fall head over heels, which has always been in my nature.  

So I thought it would be fun to start a new series on this blog. I did mention a while ago that when I return to the blogging world things would be a little different around here. This is the first step. I know that we ALL have had some kind of experience with love and romance. I wanted to collect these stories and share them with you.  From bad first dates to good first dates and how to best prepare yourself for these, the first 'I love you', the bad break up and everything else in between this series will cover everything you could think of but always with a little lesson to learn. There probably will be some sad stories but I want this to be up-lifting. Life is fun and you never know who is around the corner.

This is also the perfect opportunity for me to share some of my favourite bloggers with you. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!  

If you think you have a story to share please get in touch with me here and we'll figure something out.

Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.” ― Alfred Tennyson, In Memoriam

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Sunday, 12 October 2014

Things Nina Did - Bath


In Europe we have the privilege of being able to country hop so easily. This Saturday WGP, Mother WGP and myself popped over the border into England and went for a little day trip to Bath. I love Cardiff with all my heart but sometimes it's good to get out of town and go somewhere else to see different people and soak up a different atmosphere. Bath feels a bit more chic and pretty than Cardiff (I still love you Cardiff).

Bath is incredibly beautiful as all buildings are made from the same stone. Tourists love to come for the tenuous connection to Jane Austen, to visit the Abbey and the Roman Baths. I've done all the touristy things with my Mum so this was a great opportunity to just stroll around Bath, check out the shops and just soak in the atmosphere.



Bath is full of interesting shops and yummy places to eat, we've complied a list of places we want to go back to and visit. Bath is the kind of town I would love to live in and I'm so jealous of my friends who have gone to university there. From Cardiff it's a quick journey and from elsewhere in the country it's an easy train trip. I recommend coming early though it gets very busy during the day and we saw people queuing for ages to get into the Roman Baths.

We've made plans to come back at Christmas for the Christmas Markets, these have a lot to live up to, I am German and we take Christmas markets very seriously. I'm already excited to come back, mainly because I have my eye on the Gin Bar it really sounds like my kind of place to go. 


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Monday, 6 October 2014

Being alone doesn't mean being lonely


These past few months I have been single and ready to mingle. Saying this, I have been on a night out to scout about, and what Cardiff has to offer really isn't encouraging me to mingle much to be honest.  

I haven't been properly single in about four and a half years. That's quite a long time when I think about it. The danger of being in a relationship is that you start to become an 'us' and not just a 'you'. I've fallen into this trap before.  I've said before that my biggest problem (and confusingly also one of my best attributes) is that I give everything I have in a relationship. I'm not a person who does things by half, that's probably why I haven't ever really done casual dating before. I love to love and I love to give affection. But the problem this can cause is that I start to really lose myself in the process of trying to be the perfect girlfriend. Plus giving everything you have to someone can back fire on you pretty badly when they don't feel the same way. That's why love is such a gamble.

After my 3 and a half year relationship broke down last September I was at a bit of a loss. I spent so much energy on one guy I didn't really know what I liked or wanted from life. I've always had huge self esteem problems so that really contributed to this sense of not knowing what I really wanted to do or have in my life. The relationship I was in after that finally really let me feel free. I wasn't magically a new person but I felt that the guy I was with let me be me. It was incredibly freeing and wonderful.  Sadly that relationship wasn't meant to be. 

So that leaves just me myself and I for the first time in a really long time. When I was younger the thought of being alone really frightened me. But what I've learnt recently is that there's a massive difference in being alone and feeling lonely. I may be alone but I am not lonely. I am slowly learning to just be. Whether it's taking myself out for a walk around my neighbourhood or sitting in a café with a book. I have amazing friends who I speak to all the time and we get together to gossip, laugh and do things together. Socialising doesn't just happen you have to put in some effort but it's worth the rewards.

I've always been told that the right guy will come into your life when least expected. Whilst that is true I'm trying to change my school of thought. I'm tired of waiting for the right person to come into my life. Whilst it sounds like such a self help cliché I'm working on becoming the right person to come into someone's life. I've been so miserable with myself in the past and I worry that that could sabotage my future relationships. Now after my masters is finally done I have time to dedicate to myself. I'm excited to see what this part of my life is going to bring. There's more to life than relationships and I have to be happy with myself first before I can be happy with someone else.

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Friday, 3 October 2014

The Final Chapter



5 years, 2 degrees, lots of questionable nights out in bad fancy dress, a year in France,, questionable romances, lots of gin and tears all leading up to a 23,000 word dissertation and an adult job where I pay taxes.  Such a massive achievement.

Today was the final chapter of my academic life. I can't even explain my relief. These past few months have been some of the hardest months of my life but I'm so proud of myself. I've pushed myself and worked so hard. At times I really didn't think I was going to pull this off. It just goes to show hard work pays off.  Doing an MSc was always going to be a challenge especially a business course, I've always done humanities based courses so this was a big hurdle for me to overcome. This is such a proud moment for me.

I've had an amazing support network around me and couldn't have done it with their support. My friends have kept me calm and got me through all of this. You need a good support network to get through something like this.

Mostly I'm excited to get my life back. These past few months I've literally been going to work and coming home to do my dissertation. I've barely had time for friends or for blogging.  The break has been quite good, I'm very inspired and can't wait to spend some time with my favourite people.

Life come at me, I'm ready for you!

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