Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Little Madam

Say hello to the cheekiest little madam, Mika

Meet Mika
She's a 16 week old Russian Blue kitten. It is with a heavy heart I have to tell you that she's not mine. We stayed with my Grandmother this weekend for a family function and this is the latest addition to her household. She's cheeky, bold, highly inquisitive, active and ├╝ber difficult to get pictures of, so I decided video would probably be better.

The family function we were attending was my great Aunt and Uncle's golden wedding anniversary- a gathering in their garden complete with Thai buffet and assorted tents for cover, but we were suitably grateful that the weather was warm and dry. I got to show off my tan a touch further with my new favourite dress.

Dress, closing down sale in Bangor
Lightweight Jersey Blazer, ASOS
Sandals (not seen), Primark
Braclet, Primark
This is the first time I've worn it without something underneath or over the top of it, and it was great to get a chance to show off my tanned shoulders, although by the time we got round to taking these pictures (taken by The Guy, some rare full length shots!!!) it had cooled down enough to need my lightweight jacket-thing.

The jacket has been another wardrobe star. It's from ASOS from winter 09, and is more of a jersey cardigan type weight, but because it's cut as a blazer with the lapels, it's great for a slightly smarter alternative.

So that's me back for a while now. Having turned myself around after my holiday, done the relative thing at the weekend, and turned that around today, my parents are off away for a while tomorrow. I'm going to be based at home until I can find a more permanent job, and I have a few different things bubbling away on that front at the moment, but I'm currently working in quite a niche area of recruitment. I'm interested to hear from anybody else who has moved back to their family home having just finished a degree and how you're finding it? I'm going to be doing a bit of a post about it soon, and I'm interested to hear all sorts of perspectives on it. If you would rather, do e-mail instead of commenting- chloe.martinbrown@gmail.com

And a big hello to all EIGHTY of you old or new followers at Chloe Likes To Talk. Happy Reading.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Up, Down, Round Town

Honey.... I'm home. Actually that's not exactly true. I'm currently schlepping me, my stuff, The Guy and an anniversary card for my great aunt and uncle down to the South East. It's their Golden Wedding anniversary and they're having a kind of party/gathering thing at their home this evening. I look a bit likes this...

Black City Shorts, somewhere in Spain, several (6 ish?!) years ago
T-Shirt, H&M
Necklace, DKNY
Ring (Left), Local Jeweller
Ring (Right), Shaun Leane
 But I am back in the country after a relaxing and sun filled 10 days of holiday and my tan has been described as plain disgusting by my ever so slightly jealous mum. I'd love to tell you all that I had some wild and exciting tales of parties or cultural experience, or voyages to exotic locations or restaurants. The truth is somewhat less glamorous, 10 days of laying on a sun lounger attached to my Kindle, a few good meals, a few dips in a very brisk swimming pool and a lot of letting go. It looked a bit like this....

My Kindle- L.O.V.E
From balcony of apartment
Just another bar on the sea front, but the cocktails were buy one, get one free, and we were easily persuaded.
Holiday food

Cheese, Chorizo, Black Pepper, San Miguel, German crackers and The Guy's olives

I did put actual clothes on, on one or two occasions, unfortunately I forgot to get pictures of most of them, I was just too busy having fun, I did get this one though- or more accurately The Guy did.

Dress, Stradivarius (Spanish High St Shop) from last year
Bracelet, Primark,
Sandals (just seen), Primark
I know 10 days of reading, swimming and eating is not to everybody's taste, but when The Guy and I booked this trip, it was with exactly this in mind and it was precisely what was needed. It's been a pretty tough six months and given a chance to charge our batteries, we grabbed it with both hands, particularly the chance to relinquish our BlackBerrys and leave behind the tone of e-mails and the shriek of text messages. And for me to be able to do that, 3 fabulous ladies took over for me.

Did you catch Holiday Reading? Part 1 came from the ever fabulous Alex of Odd Socks and Pretty Frocks she did a stellar job of providing some literary recommendations for all. Part 2 cam from Bee of Vivatramp if I ever work out how she got so wise, I'm bottling me some and selling it. Last but not least, Ayden from Little Blog of Horrors. Part 3 was an education for me and something completely new and different for CLTT. If you haven't seen their posts, please go check them out, three of my favouritest amazing blog-y ladies and they've provided more than fabulous Holiday Reading- thank you ladies.

Hello also to a more than a few new faces. My little corner of the web appears to have grown since I've been gone. Hi *waves in slightly peculiar manner*, welcome and I hope you enjoy.

And now looking to the future, well next week, I have something pretty exciting to show you and I think you're going to like it... but until then, have a lovely weekend queridas (do I have any queridos? Would love to know if there are any male readers of Chloe Likes To Talk) and here's hoping for some sunshine

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Holiday Reading Part 3: Ayden

Hello there readers of Chloe Likes To Talk :) My name is Ayden, and I blog over at the Little Blog Of Horrors  Today I'm here with a wee guest post while Chloe is off on her holiday! What a lucky lady. Bring back some sunshine with you eh Chloe? I am 22, from Scotland, and my blog is basically just a little diary of my life and the random goings-on which happen day to day. I was racking my brain for ages trying to thing what I could come up with for a guest post, and today I thought I would share with you all one of my idols, Kat Von D.

Now I know Kat isn't everyone's cup of tea, but I think she is such a strong, independent and inspiring woman. As a tattooed gal myself, I suppose I am a wee bit biased in that sense... but really, I just think she rocks! I thought I would have a bit of fun today and show you a look I tried to recreate using her Tattoo Chronicles makeup palette.

 I have been lucky to acquire this palette and also a couple of lipsticks from Kat's makeup range for Sephora thanks to some American pen pals I have in the USA. Kat also developed a tattoo concealer for her range, and the pictures of it online are absolutely amazing. I have faced some adversity in the past due to my tattoos, but luckily I work in an industry where tattoos and piercings are not frowned upon at all. I would never, ever want to hide my tattoos (why the hell did I get them in the first place eh?) but the concealer is really intriguing, and I'm sure it will prove useful to people who are looking for a quick fix to cover up their tattoos (job interviews, weddings, etc) Anyways, going a bit off track here! The Tattoo Chronicles Palette I have contains eyeshadows, primers, and a little duo roll on perfume. The lipsticks I have are a full sized 'Painted Love' and a little mini 'Cathedral'.

Apart from the packaging being bloody gorgeous, the quality of the products themselves are very impressive. The eyeshadows are very pigmented and smooth to apply, with hardly any fall out. The primer comes in three different shades (each one to be used depending on what colour of eye you are creating) and is pretty heavy duty! Didn't get caught up in the eye crease like some primers can, and made my eyeshadows apply like a dream. All I have to say, is UD Primer Potion and Mac Paint - be afraid by this fierce rival! :) I am a bit stuck in my ways when it comes to perfumes, but both the roll on fragrances in this set were very pleasant and I think would be perfect for a night out to just slip in your handbag. The lipsticks are also fab, while both shades I have being on the lighter side of 'gothic'... I felt very grown up when wearing them, as all my other lipsticks are girlie pinks and corals.

I followed a makeup tutorial by Amanda at Beauty Blogging Blonde where she did an amazing video which was basically a step by step of how to achieve Kat's signature look. So all credit goes to Amanda for her awesome tutorial :) I used the chronicles palettes eyeshadow and primer for my eyes, and the rest of the makeup I used differed slightly to Amanda's choices (different brands, but similar shades and applied them in the exact same way etc) If you would like to know in particular any of the products I did use, leave a wee comment below and I'll let you know :) Once the makeup was applied, my hair back combed and my misfits tshirt in full swing... all that was left was to get into character. So excuse the mental posing, but embracing my inner rock chick was all part of the fun!

I had such a giggle doing this, and it's the first time I have attempted to follow any sort of makeup tutorial and create a 'look' - but I hope you all like it. Piling on the makeup so heavily didn't feel natural at all, especially the thick black eyebrows and star tattoos. I actually sat down to eat dinner and watch a movie with it all still on, completely forgot about it. Just as well my boyfriend is on an overnight trip from work, I think he would have got a bit of a fright if he'd seen me like that! Haha. I would love to try this again, and if I can find some proper rock chick clothes I think this would actually make a pretty good Halloween character.

Well lovelies, it's been a fleeting visit but thank you for reading and thank you to Chloe for having me :) Don't hesitate to pop on over to my blog and say hello if you would like to read more of my random ramblings <3 Lots of love, Ayden x

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What's In My Holiday Washbag?

Beauty blogger I am not, but I thought I'd have another sharing session in between the Holiday Reads- hope you loved Bee's post as much I did.

The Bag- Cath Kidston. This is the bag my 21st birthday present from my parents came in ♥
I do love my wash bag. Not only does it remind me of the gorgeous necklace my parents gave me for my 21st, but it's exactly the size for a washbag so that it fits everything without having to be stingy. Oh... and it's pretty.

Top Row L-R

Boots Strawberry Lipsalve, Miniature Insolence by Guerlain perfume, Nail Kit
Contact Lens solution
MD Facewash and MD Serum
Bodyshop Neroli Jasmine shower gel (decanted into Superdrug travel bottle)
Morrisons Cocoa Butter Body Lotion
Simple Eye Make-Up Remover Wipes, Soap (stolen from the timeshare my mum and dad go to because my mum knows I love it), Toothpaste
Simple Anti-Blemish Moisturiser, Horrible Tasting Iron supplement
Superdrug Totalcare Mouthwash

Bottom Row L-R

Bare Minerals Factor 30 Sun Screen, Bic Razor
Assorted Primark hair ties
Mitchums Deodorant/Antiperspirant
Scrub Your Nose In It face scrub, Cotton Buds
TRESemme Deep cleansing Shampoo and TRESemme Salon Silk condition (decanted into Superdrug travel bottles)
Plasters, Hair Comb
Toothbrush, Exfoliating Sponge
Contact lenses and case

It always surprises me how much of it all that there is, because I consider myself to be fairly low maintenance, maybe I'm not as good at keeping it simple, as I thought?!

I try and make sure that as many of my products as possible are either decanted into bottles that are smaller than their own packaging- 900ml bottles of shampoo are so not good for the weight allowance! And if they're not easily decanted or they can't be decanted into quantities that will last a whole trip (like my contact lens solution or toothpaste for example) I try and take half full bottles, so they can be used up or very nearly used up and thrown away before coming home. Please tell me I'm not the only one obsessed enough to think this hard about what they take on holiday?

A slightly better picture, all products as above

Top Row L-R

Boots Strawberry Lipsalve, Miniature Insolence by Guerlain perfume, Nail Kit
Contact Lens solution
MD Facewash and MD Serum
Bodyshop Neroli Jasmine shower gel (decanted into Superdrug travel bottle)
Morrisons Cocoa Butter Body Lotion
Simple Eye Make-Up Remover Wipes, Soap (stolen from the timeshare my mum and dad go to because my mum knows I love it), Toothpaste
Simple Anti-Blemish Moisturiser, Horrible Tasting Iron supplement
Superdrug Totalcare Mouthwash

Bottom Row L-R

Bare Minerals Factor 30 Sun Screen, Bic Razor
Assorted Primark hair ties
Mitchums Deodorant/Antiperspirant
Scrub Your Nose In It face scrub, Cotton Buds
TRESemme Deep cleansing Shampoo and TRESemme Salon Silk condition (decanted into Superdrug travel bottles)
Plasters, Hair Comb
Toothbrush, Exfoliating Sponge
Contact lenses and case

There isn't really anything different I take on a sunshine holiday like this one, as opposed to an overnight or few days elsewhere. The only real difference is volume. I do have a couple of rave-about products though...

Morrisons Cocoa Butter Moisturiser- Cocoa Butter seems to have become particularly popular since Palmer's became a bit more readily available. I've used Palmer's, and it's good, don't get me wrong, but for a more basic moisturiser, I begrudge paying over £5 when there are so many cheaper alternative. I stumbled across the Morrisons and Tesco own versions when I was looking for a general body lotion for my legs and body, but didn't want to pay brand prices. And I love them. They come in at around £2 for those large bottles and they smell nice and they do the job. What more could I ask for?

Bodyshop Neroli Jasmine shower gel- I have super sensitive skin and for as long as I can remember, I've been unable to use soap or shower gel that has any hint of colour, perfume or anything else in it. They seem to make my skin oily, itchy and break-out. When a friend gave me a set including a travel size of this shower gel, I shoved it into a washbag for the (then rare) occasions I went swimming, and when it became a more regular occurrence and the bottle became steadily more empty, it was a pleasant surprise to realise that the shower gel was not affecting my skin. Oh, and it smells divine- warm and fiery without being overpowering. It's pretty pricey at almost £10 (December 2010 ish) for 200ml, so I don't use it all the time, but trips like these are all about enjoying the sun, swimming pools and treating myself, so I get to erase the smell of chlorine and treat myself to my favourite Jasmine scented shower gel all at the same time. And although price, 500ml does go a long way as it only needs to be used sparingly, particularly if you have a shower puff-thing.

Boots Lipsalve- This basic costs a mere £1 per tube and is a Boots own special. It comes in a plain, mint and strawberry flavour (maybe others, but those are the ones I can remember) and I almost always go for the strawberry as it's a favourite. Quite simply, this does what it says on the tin. Soothes and moisturises. It's also in a stick, so no sticky fingers or exploding tubes. I have five or six on the go at any one time, and at least one in every handbag/washbag/make-up bag.

And lastly, Bare Minerals Sun Screen- As mentioned, super sensitive skin is an issue for me and Sun Cream is a complete nightmare. The sun really helps to dry out my skin and all the nasties that seem to take root. My back benefits in particular and this has lead to me rejecting sun cream, which reverses and good deeds the sun does, and clogging my pores, giving my huge outbreaks and me being miserable. That's not to say I'm not careful, I've taken to restricting the amount of time I spent in the sun and covering up, but it's a pain. And I'd prefer to use sun screen if I could. This is where the Bare Minerals come in. I already use the make-up and when I saw their sun screen, I knew it was for me. It's in a powder format, and comes in a self contained brush, that you twist to release the product through a brush. It comes in three shades, and seem to be designed for use as Factor 30 make-up. Personally I'd rather they did a colourless shade too, as I don't want it as make-up, but it's the closest I've come in 10 years of searching, to a perfect solution to sun protection. You can find the Bare Minerals Sun Screen on QVC here and I'll be doing a more in depth review of it once I get home, if you're interested?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Holiday Reading Part 2: Bee

Hello, I'm Bee! I'm an 18 year old ditz that lives, quite happily, in a  little seaside town in the South West of England. I suffer from a relatively severe case of wanderlust that accompanies my fruitful imagination and tendency to day dream. My little blog, Vivatramp, is home to appreciating the simple things in life and my adventures with a camera in tow. When Chloe asked me to guest post I knew I wanted to showcase my tips with regards to keeping a happy heart and a healthy mind. I know that Chloe has been rushed off her feet lately so I hope that these little snippets of advice help her to fully relax again and enjoy the best things in life! I am in no way claiming to be any sort of expert with regards to this sort of thing! I just thought I'd share a few bits of advice that always help me to get on with my day smoothly!

For years, I found myself battling with my anxiety and often let it get the better of me. It stopped me from going outside, seeing friends and taking part in great opportunities. I often seem to jump to the worst conclusion without even thinking and its this self-doubt that I'm working on at the moment. Self-doubt is a killer for inspiration, productivity and settled minds so it's important to take a step back and tackle the root of the problem. I think a lot of us need to just hold a little more belief in our own ability. We spend so long worrying about instilling belief in others/ideas that we forget to believe in ourselves! Start holding your head high and I'm sure your pride will have a positive affect upon your state of mind. As the lovely Skye said, 'You need to figure out what makes you happy in yourself and base your life around it'. There's no point in basing your life around your fears and regrets - even though so many of us do!

A lot of us choose to live on auto-pilot allowing ourselves to live vicariously through other people's lives and experiences. I've been guilty of it myself, flicking through magazines I often commented on people's experiences and I can't count the amount of times I've picked up a book and wished I could jump right into it! Whether it's opportunities, places or people, I believe you should explore it all. Open your mind to new ideas and experiences and in turn you'll enrich your life and your thinking. I was discussing this topic with Lyzi the other day and she perfectly summed it up by saying that, 'an active body leads to an active mind'. You've got nothing to lose! I can't help but feel that this is going to be a big part of my life!

Create a happy heart through pride! You can achieve things in a number of ways and in doing so you're impressing yourself. Whether it's gaining high grades at school or achieving your own personal goals - focusing on a passion always helps for a healthier head. Cross off something from your to-do list, do that assignment that you've been casually hiding behind billions of internet tabs and start that exercise class you've been telling your hips for weeks that you'd attend. The mind likes it when it's occupied so do things now rather than later.

Perhaps the thing that's been the best help to me is documenting my own happiness and creativity. This can be done through whatever medium you wish - lists, in a journal, through a blog post or photographs. I've found that if you make the effort to document your happiness you'll feel it a whole lot more and open your mind to all the smaller things in life that had previously been overlooked. My 'H is for Happy' feature showcases all the things in life that make me happy and it's certainly helped me get through some of the tougher days. These documentations are a great resource to have if you need reminding as to why you need to put a big grin on your face!

For some reason, us humans seem to be programmed to fear extremes. We approach extremes with both fear and regret. How many times have you found yourself joking about your non-existent life or complaining about how busy you've been? Don't fear having a day of nothingness. You are only human after all. Don't be afraid to achieve lots of things either; I know I'm guilty of thinking, 'well, I've crossed one thing off so that's my good deed of the day'. Hearts and minds like a balance so indulge that fact!

This snippet of advice can be extremely poignant in certain situations so I'm extremely glad that Zoe suggested it to me. Been dumped by that complete slimeball? Hey, you've got more room in bed! Lived with a compulsive liar? You'll be able to pinpoint tell-tale signs of lies in the future and you'll always sniff out the rat. It's a whole lot easier to look back in hindsight and put a positive spin on the negatives but just keep this tip in mind! It could drag you out of some mega self-doubt and troublesome situations.

It sounds simple enough but if things aren't looking too chipper in the present look ahead to the future. I did this a lot whilst I was in a long distance relationship with my boyfriend. I would focus my energy towards holidays, him coming home and seeing each other again. I also used to journal about all the things I wanted to do in the future and how I wanted to feel. By doing this, you're focusing your energy on future emotions/situations and not clogging up your mind with present issues. It can also make you feel like you've achieved something just by discussing achievements.

That old 'honesty is the best policy' chestnut really is true! A clearer conscience creates a focused and, therefore, happier mind. Don't clog your brain with what if's/should have's. If you have something you wish to say to people; say it! If you don't agree with something, make your opinion known! Obviously, I'm not advocating aggressive behaviour/stern words. It's all about honesty but in a non-brutal way. This tip is all about creating a healthy mind and I'm sure if you clear it of all the doubt/oh-I-wish-I-said-this-to-so-and-so you'll be closer to a happier head in no time!

So, there you have it. There's my fool-proof tips to a happy heart and a healthy mind without burning a hole in your bank balance! I'd love to know what you thought of these tips so don't be a stranger! I'd also like to just say a big thanks to Chloe for this opportunity. Anyway, best be off - Little Viva won't run herself!

Friday, June 17, 2011

What's In My Hand Luggage?

Well hello there. I hope you enjoyed part one of Holiday reading by the lovely literary Alex. I thought I'd butt into the series to do a bit of a "What's In My...." post on what I carry in my hand luggage, mainly because I love being nosey and seeing what other people carry and it might be a bit hypocritical if I didn't show mine.


The Handbag- Nica Alicia Crossbody Bag

Top Row from L-R

Railcard/Oyster Card and holder from H&M

Bare Minerals Compact and Refillable Brush

Bag for Security- Sexy Mother Pucker plumping gloss, MaxFactor lip stain, Gold eyeliner from French shop I used to live above, Boots strawberry lip salve

Bottom Row L-R


Hair Comb


Purse, New Look

European Phone


 I do love this handbag, because it's good and compact and it has OODLES of pockets to keep everything in. It's also a cross body which is great for travel.

I use mineral make-up which is great because the compact and brush do not have to go into the separate bag for security or take up the liquids allowance. They're both made by Bare Minerals and the compact comes with a small version of the "Full Face" which is perfect for the foundation and the brush has a section which screws into the bottom and mine has blush in and is released by the brush when you twist it open. Great for travel or for everyday top ups. I wear virtually no make up on holiday, so these are perfect for me.

My European phone is an LG Cookie. I bought it in Germany and it turns out my German SIM card still has a few Euros of credit on it, so I shall be using that. I am a BlackBerry user, but without the data (which I would switch off to avoid sky-high phone bills) it's just a phone, so it's as easy for me to take this one and it has the added benefit of having a European charger- so no need to clog up the adapter. One of the many joys of a holiday for me, is being in limited contact. My mum will get a text to confirm I have arrived in one piece and it's useful if I need to contact the lovely lady who organised my trip, but that's the extent of my phone usage on a trip like this.

Aside that, there's nothing different about my handbag when I travel, I like to keep things light, neat and secure. And if possible easy for getting through security. This is the first time in a long time when I haven't been flying in order to move countries, it's refreshing not to need to carry half a ton of documents, my laptop, all my electronics and anything that won't fit in my suitcase.

The Extra Bag, canvas tote from Ministry of Sound

Top Row L-R

Morgan Travel Wallet, Train Tickets, Plane Tickets and Assorted Documentation, Passport

Simple Oil-Balancing face wipes

Glasses, Prada

European phone charger

Bottom Row L-R

Georgette Heyer Novel (c/ the lovely Alex)

Kindle and Case, Amazon

Cardigan, H&M
Although I would happily just use a handbag for getting through the airport, having the other bag on the allowance does mean I have somewhere to shove a bottle of water once I get air side and a stack of magazines, naturally.

Having been stuck and delayed a fair few times in the last few years, I had taken to putting a change of underwear and some basic toiletries into my hand luggage, but I feel this is a habit that needs to broken for shorter trips and short-haul flights. A little extreme when going for a 10 day holiday... However... Face wipes are great when it's been a long day and you're not feeling so fresh, delayed or not. And I wear glasses/contact lenses. They get uncomfortable sometimes, and there's nothing worse than blurry, itchy,  uncomfortable contacts. Being able to put my glasses on if I want to is worth carrying them. These Prada ones are my absolute favourites and they go pretty much everywhere with me.

I carry my phone charger in my hand luggage for much the same reason. Nothing worse than being stuck, needing to call a hotel/family member/travel agent and your phone dying and the charger somewhere unknown.

Passport and tickets- I won't be going far without them now will I? The wallet was a Christmas present from my parents the year before I started placements abroad. It has sections and pockets and it's great when you have tickets, insurance documents, passports, travel passes, contact details for hotels/travel agents. If I had to carry all that loose, it would be nothing short of a disaster.

Now does anyone else find that they get really cold on planes? About an hour into any flights, I can guarantee I start to FREEZE! No matter how warm my destination is, I always have to take an extra layer for the flight. This is my latest favourite one from H&M- I do love this shade of pink, it goes with EVERYTHING.

My Kindle is a no brainer, it's rammed with books I've been wanting to read for at least 2 months and this holiday is all about books and sun loungers. And the Georgette Heyer came from a giveaway by the lovely Alex from Odd Socks and Pretty Frocks. I do love a bit of vintage crime.

Suitcase, Hand Luggage and Handbag- Packed and ready!

So that's it. the lot. I try where possible to travel light. Are you a lightweight traveller, or would you rather carry the weight for the sake of extras? Have I missed out on something- any suggestions on this I absolutely should be carrying?

Hasta Pronto Queridos/as and pop back for part 2 of Holiday Reading on Sunday. It's another good one!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Holiday Reading Part 1: Alex

Hello.  I'm Alex and I blog over at Odd Socks and Pretty Frocks about clothes, books, photography, baking, crafts and all sorts of random stuff.  Chloe asked for some guest posters whilst she's off enjoying a well-deserved holiday and I thought this seemed the perfect opportunity to talk about some holiday reading.  Now I'm the sort of loon who packs books first and then worries about clothes later, so you can imagine that I'm never short of books to choose from.  If you're slightly more sane than I am and want some book recommendations for your summer holidays, read on:

If you're...going to Italy

Then pick up a copy of The Food Of Love by Anthony Capella

The characters and plot are beautifully written but this book is really about the food.  Oh my god, the FOOD!  It has the most sumptuous descriptions I've read outside the best sort of cookery book.  It makes me immediately want to move to Italy and find myself a Bruno who can feed me freshly made pizza, coffee, amazing wine, homemade tortellini, olive oil, truffles, tartufo.... It's a good job descriptions contain no calories or I'd be the size of a house!

If you're...heading to Egypt

Then it has to be Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

Egpyt, love, murder, excursions to  ancient ruins, Poirot in typical masterly deductive form: what's not to love?  I'd also recommend one of Christie's less well-known books, Death Comes as the End.  It's set in Egypt in 2000BC and although you do have tune your brain a little to get into it and keep all the characters straight, it's well worth reading.

If you're...travelling around Europe

Then make room in your case or on your Kindle for a copy of Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson.

It might be 20 years old now but let's face it, you won't be reading it purely as a travel guide (buy a Time Out guide or something for that).  You'll be too busy snorting with laughter at the tales he tells about his travels around the major cities.  I particularly like the Paris chapter.

If you're...going Down Under

Brace yourself and read Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay.

The film (which truly creeps me out) is probably better known than the book but I feel like it should be more widely read.   Very atmospheric, very spooky and full of wonderfully vivid descriptions of the countryside.

If you're...going on a beach holiday and don't want to tax your brain

Welcome to the world of Jilly Cooper.  Her novels are nice and long, so are perfect for a holiday, and they're always entertaining, funny and hilariously full of bonking.  An added bonus is playing the Jilly Cooper Drinking Game (copyright moi) - drink every time she uses the words ravishing, scent, wireless or washing-up machine, refers to someone by a convoluted nickname, uses an odd simile...there are many more categories.  End result - happy holiday drunkenness.  My personal fave is Polo but it probably makes sense to start at the beginning with Riders.

My late-summer holiday this year is to Estoril and I have no idea about Portuguese literature - I should probably start investigating now!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Holiday Reading

As this goes live, I should be about 30 000 feet above Spain. That's right, I've officially left for my holiday. I didn't want to leave Chloe Likes To Talk neglected though, so I thought I'd find some holiday reading for you.

This is  something I've been more than a little excited about and I'd like to introduce 3 of my favourite ladies in the blogging community

Say Hi to

Bee from Vivatramp

Ayden from Little Blog of Horrors


Alex from Odd Socks and Pretty Frocks

They have all been kind enough to provide you with a special post and they'll be appearing in my absence to keep you all entertained. They've all come up with something lovely for you, so keep your eyes peeled for their brilliant posts over the next 2 weeks and in the mean time, go have a look at their own spaces.

And on that note, I'll see you all when I'm a bit more chilled and a lot more tanned. Hasta luego queridas....

Sunday, June 12, 2011

We're All Going On A Summer Holiday

 I've been eagerly awaiting this trip for some time. The Guy and I are off to Lanzarote for 10 days of lounging about in the sun with our favourite books and maybe an occasional swim to break the day up.

I managed to slip out to pick up a few last minute essentials on Wednesday and found a couple of extras too, which I thought I'd share, as I'm rather pleased with my goodies.

Bikini brief bottoms, £3 Primark
Bikini bandeau top (matching), £5 Primark
Gold and Rope Sandals, £8 Primark
Bracelet, £2 Primark
Striped T-Shirt, £7.99 H&M
Kindle (Christmas Gift), Kindle Gelaskins cover, Birthday Gift
Kindle Gelaskins Cover, Birthday Gift (available from Amazon)
My very lovely parents bought me my Kindle 3G for Chirstmas and it's been love ever since. I do have a more solid case that zips up around it, to protect it when it's in a bag or I'm on the move, but I was lusting after something a bit prettier. The "skins"/"covers" are actually a bit like vinyl stickers that you (VERY carefully and gently) stick to the Kindle. I lovelovelove this particular design, because not only is it colourful and distinctive, the more you look at it, the more you notice. The titles of the books of puns of well known titles, and there are all sorts of quirks on the shelves like a curled up cat in one corner, and a view over fields from another.

I know, I know, not technically one of the purchases I am showing you, but I had to share, because it's gorgeous and I am taking my well stocked Kindle with me.

But back to the purchases...

Clockwise from Top Left
Primark Bracelet as above,
Primark Sandals as above- perfect for evening or day time
Bikini Top as above- love the little button details. The Primark Bandeau tops also have detachable straps- no more tan lines for me!
H&M Tee as above, I love that the strips show skylines and scenes, when you looks closer.
Just a few little bits to add to my staple denim shorts and simple sun dresses that are so easy for this kind of holiday. You like?


Friday, June 10, 2011

It's a Fact, I'm Back.

It's been a little crazy around here, hence the absence this week *hangs head in sorrow and shame*. But I'm still here and to show you I haven't just been hiding from the world with my head in the clouds, I thought I'd give you a few snapshots of the last 7 days.

 Friday was my birthday, we also received our final degree classifications, so a hectic and emotional day and there was plenty of celebrating to be done!

From L-R
Gaz, Rhodri, Ryan, Dev, Kamilla, Tom and Moi

I'm unbelievably proud of us all, because more than anything- we made it! I came out with a 2:2 overall, Tom managed a 2:1 with 1 distinction in Italian and Dev. Well Dev managed a 1st with THREE distinctions. Needless to say he has worked his backside off and I'm incredibly proud of him and to have him as my friend. So well done to us- the Triple Major Languages class of 2011.

Sunday was time to head home, having packed up my cell room in halls and I was greeted with afternoon tea made by my dad as a birthday/well done celebration. Sweet and savoury scones, lemon and blueberry birthday cake, Champagne- perfection. My wonderful Dad also put together a gorgeous three course dinner for that evening- King Prawn salad with avocado, Chateau Briand with Bordelaise and Bearnaise sauces and Elderflower Champagne and Strawberry jelly. I would love nothing more than to show you all of this yummy yummy food, but my last pair of batteries decided to run out of charge after the first picture of my birthday cake.

Monday brought the unpacking. I'm going to be at home for a while, as I currently don't have a job lined up, so lots of re-organising of my space and wardrobes going on.


 And from unpacking one suitcase, to packing another. I'm headed off for a 10 day holiday on Monday. The Guy and I are very much looking forward to 10 days of sun, swimming, Spanish wine and lots and lots of reading.

Let the packing commence...

More on the holiday at the weekend- boy do I have some treats for you whilst I'm away!

Having unpacked, started the job hunt, done half a ton of washing and ironing, dropped in and out of the office, had my hair cut, managed a few other pre-holiday appointments, a quick shopping trip for a few last minute holiday bits and tried my best to get settled back at home, I decided to have an evening with The Guy last night. We went to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie at the cinema. I've seen bits of all the Pirates movies and it was an enjoyable movie to watch that didn't require too much concentration- exactly what I was after.

Cinema treats- a bucket full of Diet Coke
 So there we go, It's been a busy 7 days, and I haven't abandoned you, promise. How's your week been? All systems go or a slow one? Anybody else counting down to a holiday?


Thursday, June 2, 2011

The End

So after much studying, whinging, blood, sweat a few tears, and many, many countdowns. This is it. As this goes live, I'll be coming out of my final exam- 8 down, 0 to go. This is also the last day I have to gloat that The Guy is older than me. Tomorrow I'll be waking up both 22 and a graduate.

To say it's been an eventful 4 years, doesn't even begin to cover it. Want to see...?

Kelly, Britta, Gwen, Dev and I
In year 1, well we partied hard. I'm glad we partied like we did in our first year, because although we worked hard, it was nothing compared to years 2 and 4.

In year 1 I met a lot of people. Some of them are no longer on the course- both Britta and Kelly from the above photo decided on other things. But the some of the few friends I'll be taking away from uni are people I got to know in the very first year.

From L-R
Mel, Emily, Dev, Britta, Geoff, Gaz, Moi
Year 2 was a funny year. For me it was a year of 2 distinct halves. I started off the year herE at my home uni in the winter. Partying significantly less because the workload stepped up a gear in particular for those of us studying three languages because we had all our January exams to sit in December before leaving for our first stint abroad.

For me, that was Toulouse. It should have been fabulous. Instead the university looked a bit like this.

Toulouse Le Mirail.
I ended up at one of the most militant universities in France amidst some of the biggest educational strikes in the last 10 years. 9 classes, 4 months, 2000 euros of rent and a whole lot of heart ache later, I gave up on France and decided to try and stay positive for my Erasmus year and the next stint abroad.

Leipzig Christmas Market
Another year of halves, my third year kicked of in Leipzig. I was super excited for Germany and it did not disappoint. I had the time of my life in Germany, despite living in a dodgy area and temperatures dropping to -18C. Highlights include being in the city as part of a crowd of 100 000 celebrating 20 years since the peaceful revolution and the Christmas Market with it's many tasty delights and amazing decorations.

Las Fallas de Calle Mistral
Onto Spain. The third and final stop on the Euro-Tour and the end of my penultimate year of Uni. I was fortunate to be in the city for Las Fallas- a yearly festival which sees huge, colourful and really weird scenes built on a huge scale all over the city. The scenes are then burnt at the end of the week. Oh and there are fireworks, during the day, all week. Only in Spain...

Sunset over the Irish Sea
This year, fourth and final has been a lot of ups and downs. Quite literally in fact, there have been a lot of trips backwards and forwards from home to uni and back again, several fabulous trips to London and a whole lot of hard work. I have never been happier to call the people I do my friends, because they really are the ones to have stayed around. I've learned a lot about my own limits this year and I also learned a lot about letting go and letting people in.

Tomorrow brings with it our final results and overall classifications of our degree. It also brings with it the end of massive part of my life. I can honestly say I'm ready to leave education. To The Boys who graduate with me, well done. We made it. Onwards and upwards. To the 18 year old Chloe who wasn't completely sure she was doing the right thing, but couldn't come up with a better idea- what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. And to everybody else coming to the end of their degrees- congratulations and raise a glass to yourselves.