Saturday, 29 November 2014

75. November Favourites

Hello everyone! It literally feels like yesterday when I was writing my October favourites post and here I am doing one for November! As I have 11 favourites this month, this post will be long so I'll put up a separate post in the next few days about what I've been up to. There's a real mix of favourites this month so happy reading! 

1) Faith in Nature Crystal Stick Deodorant- Now I am no Sweaty Betty I can assure you but, let's be honest everyone sweats. After reading the lovely Niomi Smart's post on natural deodorants, I decided to purchase one. If ever there was a miracle product, it is this! Apart from the satisfaction that you aren't applying any toxic chemicals to your skin on a daily basis, the product does as it says and prevents odour and you sweat a lot less! All you do is wet the deodorant under warm water and apply. I'm never going back to conventional deodorants!

2) Barry M nail paint in Raspberry and Blackberry- I love Barry M nail polish and these are my favourite shades for this winter. Other shades that I like for autumn/winter are fuschia, spring green and bright purple but I will be wearing raspberry and blackberry the most as they are such classic colours that go with everything!

3) M&S socks- The feeling of new socks is one of my favourite things and I adore this pattern. I actually bought these in September so they are no longer available.

4) H & M flannel checked shirt- What I love most about this shirt is that it is long which means you can wear it in so many different ways. The colours are lovely and it is so warm and cosy! I like to wear mine buttoned up with leggings and ankle boots.

5) Netbook sleeve- I've had my netbook for over a year now so it was time for a new cover. I saw this and fell in love as it reminded me of the children's TV show, Polka Dot Shorts! Do any of you remember it?

6) Vimto- I love the smell of Vimto and these cute bottles are the perfect size! (Yes, I realise we must be the only people in 2014 to still have a milkman and yes we keep ketchup in the fridge as you should!)

7) Hummus and carrots- I've really been making the effort to have more healthy snacks and Niomi's video gave me lots of great ideas! I'm quite good with my fruit but not so good with raw vegetables so this is the perfect snack. This is such a quick and easy snack to prepare and is ideal for lunch or when you come home from school, university or work. 

Such a cute carrot!
8) Nature Reviews Microbiology- I've been working on my literature review on antibiotic resistance since September and  I was struggling to find a good paper on the origins of antibiotic resistance for ages but, a 2010 article from Allen et al. in Nature Reviews Microbiology saved the day. For any microbiologists out there with access to Nature, this is the article.

9) Gavin and Stacey Christmas special- There is only one Christmas special that I know most of the words to as I have seen it so many times. Personal highlights include Smithy singing Band Aid, Nessa's OH OH OH Merry Christmas and Mick's obsession with perfecting his turkey. If you haven't seen it already, where have you been? This will have you laughing from beginning to end, I promise!

10) Blank Space by Taylor Swift- I love the song, I love the video and dare I say it, I love Taylor too. The video for Blank Space is probably what a Disney Princess movie would be like in a parallel universe.

 11) S Club 7- When I heard that there was going to be an S Club 7 reunion, one of my dreams came true (See what I did there? Ha!). After watching their Children in Need performance and hearing that they were going on tour, I was determined to get tickets and... I managed to get some! YAY :D I can't wait to see them in May with my lovely friend, Alex. I've been listening to their greatest hits album because it is one motivational soundtrack when you're reading and writing about a depressing subject like antibiotic resistance. 

Until next time, take care.

Mancunian Sheep x

Friday, 14 November 2014

74. My 5 Favourite Things In My Bedroom

Hello everyone! I was looking around my room and thought I would share some photos of things in my room and explain why they are my favourites. These are in no particular order of preference by the way!

My headboard/mantelpiece. Personally, I am a fan of the white/cream and red colour scheme of my room because not only does it remind me of Where's Wally, it looks good. As it is winter, I love lighting candles as it gives the room that cosy feeling. The picture of Where's Wally and I was done by my talented friend, Lauren and was a present for my 18th birthday. The print of the sheep is by Sophie Morrell and was an Eid present from my friend, Misbah. The small white candles are the Yankee Candle soft cotton sampler votives and the red one is the same in rainwashed berry. The large one is the Glade pomegranate and white flower which lasts ages!

This framed postcard of Andy Murray lifting the Wimbledon trophy sits proudly on my desk, I bought the postcard from the Wimbledon gift shop so this photo brings back many happy memories. The frame is from Paperchase and was also a gift from Misbah.

My cactus, Kate who lives on the windowsill. I bought Kate from the Tatton Park flower show in 2013 and named her Kate as she (the Duchess of Cambridge, not the cactus) had just given birth to baby George. During summer, Kate gives lovely bright pink flowers. She is a member of the Mammilllaria pringlei.

My friend Melissa got me this soap tin for my 20th birthday and now I use it to store my hijab pins and jewellery that I wear often. It prevents me losing the pins or one of my pair of earrings!

I was lucky enough to see Adele at the Manchester Apollo during her 2011 tour. I say lucky as she became ill during the tour and missed several dates and I was so worried that she wouldn't recover in time for Manchester as selfish as that sounds. I bought this poster which hangs on the side of my wardrobe because 21 is my second favourite album of all time (AM by the Arctic Monkeys took the top spot off Adele last year).

What do you love most in your room?

Until next time, take care.


Mancunian Sheep x

Thursday, 13 November 2014

73. Song of the Month - November

In a Song of the Month first, Years & Years are the first act to have received the honour more than once. This month, I have been loving Desire. I saw Years & Years support Clean Bandit at Manchester Academy in October and they were incredible (for photos, click here). I just love how catchy Desire is, it cheers me up when I think about how summer feels like a lifetime ago whilst typing up my literature review and lecture notes with my permanently cold hands.  I also feel like it's an ode to my old phone, your small size is dearly missed HTC Desire (oh oh oh oh). Here is a live performance of Desire, enjoy and let me know what you think!
Until next time, take care.
Mancunian Sheep x

72. Book Review - A Single Breath by Lucy Clarke

Hello everyone! I'm in the process of writing my literature review on antibiotic resistance at university so I thought I may as well review some (non-scientific) literature on here too. I adore reading and the last book I read was Stoner by John Williams (highly recommend it) which I finished in September so a good read was long overdue. The book I have just finished reading is A Single Breath by Lucy Clarke which is centred around midwife Eva, her husband Jackson and Jackson's brother. Saul. After a fishing accident during a storm, Jackson dies leaving his wife of less than a year completely devastated. Jackson is originally from Tasmania so Eva heads out there as she is struggling to cope with her loss and wants to understandably be closer to her husband's loved ones to find out more about his past. When Eva arrives in Australia, Jackson's father, Dirk is cold towards her and not the man she thought she knew from the letters he sent her. Eva then goes onto meet Saul who Jackson fell out with years ago where she discovers her husband is not the man he told her he was. Over the course of the book, we discover amongst other things; why Jackson and Saul fell out, what Jackson was doing on the flight where he and Eva first met and why Jackson's death is not the only reason Dirk has turned to alcohol. 

My favourite parts of A Single Breath were the detailed descriptions of free diving and the beach that Lucy provides. This book has really made me want to go travelling. I've always wanted to go to Australia to see all the fascinating species it is home to and Lucy's descriptions of the marine life have made that desire stronger. I loved the part where Eva and Saul spot the sea dragon, it may sound strange but when you read the book, you'll realise that it was a special moment. I mean obviously it was a special moment, have you seen how beautiful and surreal these creatures are? Organisms like this make me really appreciate being a biologist. 

Anyway, back to the book, I also liked the way most of the chapters ended with a message from Jackson to Eva on the events described in the previous chapter. They allowed the reader to find out more about Jackson, some of the reasons behind his actions as well as building up the suspense quite nicely. A Single Breath covers several delicate topics ranging from broad issues like grief and trust to sibling rivalry and alcoholism rather well. 

Although I could not put the book down, there were some twists that I predicted beforehand, one of them being the cause of the bush fire (that's all I will say as I don't want to give too much away). I also feel there was room to explore the relationship between Eva and her mother particularly after they both experience the same losses. 

Rating: 4/5 

Let me know if any of you have already read A Single Breath or if I have convinced you to do so!

Until next time, take care.


Mancunian Sheep x

Saturday, 1 November 2014

71. Septober Favourites

Hello everyone! I'm so sorry for not posting for almost 2 months. I hope you've all been well! I'm in my final year at university now and I have just been so busy with finals prep, researching for my literature review and keeping up with the reading and notes for lectures. In addition to living in the library (not even exam season yet); I'm looking for graduate jobs, trying to keep in touch with friends and of course, single-handedly look after my Mum. I feel like so much has happened since my last post: Great British Bake Off ended (who else thinks Richard and his pencil were robbed?), the trees are almost naked and the clocks went back. Now that we've had a little catch up, it's time for September/October favourites. I'm actually using this post as a research break because I've been reading scientific journal articles on why pharmaceutical companies are no longer carrying out research to find new antibiotics.
As it is October, I have 10 favourites this month so grab a cuppa and get comfy :)

1) HTC One Mini- I bought a new phone in late September as the buttons at the bottom of the screen on my old one (HTC Desire C) stopped working. I love my new phone! I had my old one for 2 years because I was reluctant to buy a new one as they are all so big and won't fit in your pocket which is why I got the "Mini" (which still isn't what I'd call mini). The cameras and sound on this are of an amazing quality and it just looks and feels well made.   

2) Dorothy Perkins blanket scarf- When you live in Manchester, winter can be colder than the rest of the UK (to be fair, we have had a decent summer this year and it's still relatively warm compared to other years now). I was in Dorothy Perkins looking for a coat and this caught my eye. I adore the autumn colours and the two classic patterns so it's something that won't go out of fashion. You can wear it as well, a blanket or a scarf. It was £18. I actually did an autumn haul video that you can watch here.

3) Water-yes I've included good old H2O in my Septober favourites. I've somehow managed to stop drinking tea and coffee because during my summer internship, none of the other interns drank tea/coffee so I kind of got used to not drinking them either. Also, as we have had such a warm summer, it wasn't really tea/coffee drinking weather. Now it's been so long that when I did have coffee this week whilst I was catching up with friends, I got the worst headache and felt a bit sick and shaky afterwards. I am sleeping a lot more sensibly and my skin will thank me for it. Available from a tap near you.

4) Witch Hazel Oil Control Foaming Face Wash- Since I found out Clinique were on the Israeli boycott list, I needed a new face wash. I remember my Mum using the Witch blemish stick so I thought I would give this a try. I have combination skin so my T-zone is oily but the rest of my face is normal. This has not led to any break-outs and I've been using it since August. If used morning and night, it prevents you waking up with an oily T-zone (bleurgh!). This was £3.99 and lasts ages.

5) Eau Thermale Avene Light Hydrating Cream with SPF 20- At £15, this is quite a hefty price to pay for a moisturiser but it is justifiable. For any of you who also have combination skin like me, you will know how difficult it is to find a moisturiser that does not make your T-zone extra oily which can lead to spots. In autumn/winter, the skin on my T-zone can get a bit dry and flaky so I needed a good moisturiser to prevent this. It also has SPF 20 which makes it suitable for all year round and you only need a tiny amount so it will last ages! It leaves my skin smooth and lasts the whole day. It's also available in a "rich" formula for those that require extra moisture.

6) Topshop Advent Chelsea boots- I love Chelsea boots because they go with just about anything! What I love about these boots is the v shape detail over the stretchy flap which makes them so unique. They are real leather but required very little breaking in; by the third time I wore them, they felt comfortable. The one thing I would change about them is their height, they are literally ankle boots and just about cover your ankle so I do wish they were a little higher. These were £55 and are now only available in black according to the Topshop website but check your local store.

7)Potato smiles- oh the nostalgia! I felt like I was in primary school. Best served with fish fingers, baked beans and lots of ketchup :D

8) Green & Black's almond- my lovely friend Melissa bought us the Green and Black's collection for Eid and the almond one was definitely my favourite. The nutty flavour complements the smooth, creamy chocolate so well. That reminds me, I need to go and buy a bar. #fatgirlproblems

9) Clean Bandit- I went to see Clean Bandit in October with my great friend, Lorna. They were at Manchester Academy and their support act was Years and Years who I mentioned in my Song of the Month post in August. Clean Bandit put on a great show, I love Neil and Grace so much and the vocalists with them were amazing!

10) Little Miss Sunshine Mug- My internship manager gave me this as a leaving present because she said she saw it and it reminded her of me as I'm always smiling and chirpy even during stressful situations. How cute! <3

Thank you for reading and hopefully it won't be 2015 before my next post.

Until next time, take care.


Mancunian Sheep x