Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Walk With Me | 15-08-14

I'll leave you with this lovely friend for now, check back next Wednesday for more images from this particular walk.

Next time you're out and about, be sure to take in your surroundings, whatever they may be!

As always, thanks for stopping by Bits & Bobs :-)

Monday, 18 August 2014

Ira Levin | Rosemary's Baby

The Blurb
Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City building with an ominous reputation and only elderly residents. Neighbours Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome them and, despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises she keeps hearing, her husband starts spending time with them. Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare.

As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavet's circle is not what it seems.

First Line
'Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse had signed a lease on a five-room apartment in a geometric white house on First Avenue when they received word, from a woman named Mrs Cortez, that a four-room apartment in the Bramford had become available.'

The Plot
The unfolding story follows a young married couple, Rosemary and Guy Woodhouse, who are setting up home and wanting a family together. After getting lucky and signing a lease on an apartment they had been waitlisted for since marrying, the couple are abuzz with the excitement for their own home - particularly Rosemary. From the couple moving into their new home, to the months that follow, should be the most joyous ones for young Rosemary, however things aren't all hearts and roses at the Bramford.

I have read three of Ira Levin's novels now - A Kiss Before Dying, The Stepford Wives, and of course, Rosemary's Baby - and this one is darker in plot than the others. I don't wish to include spoilers, however I will say that talk of Satan is ripe within this book, and a few sensitive matters are included. I understand those factors will mean this book doesn't appeal to everyone, and that is why I wanted to include such information in my review, especially seen as it is not obvious from the book's blurb.

The Characters
The young couple - Rosemary and Guy - are the two focal characters within Rosemary's Baby. I liked Rosemary as a character, although at times I did feel she was a little na├»ve; Guy on the other hand, not so much. The dynamics that Ira Levin created between the two was an interesting one, and both their personalities lent towards the happenings within the relationship.

All of the characters featured within this book were brought to life through description and personality, no matter how brief their appearance - two key examples of that are Terry and Hutch.

One thing that was clear to me throughout the book was that people are not always who they appear to be.

The Writing
Ira Levin's stories are told like an account of events - very detailed, meticulous even. What's great though is that his words never feel dictated, they flow seamlessly and have a great depth.

I do have once gripe with this particular novel, and that is the ending. Personally, I didn't like the ending, I felt a little unsatisfied but the story as a whole was brilliantly told and worked well as a whole picture.

Having fast become one of my favourite authors, I just can't express how much I enjoy Ira Levin's style of writing. Inducing suspense, and writing mystery wonderfully, Ira Levin also has the knack of writing a chilling novel that is subtle, but powerful.

Final Thoughts
Whilst I enjoyed the story that was told, I am glad that I didn't start my Ira Levin journey with this particular book, as I so nearly did. A Kiss Before Dying is where I started with Levin's work and remains to be my favourite so far.

Where possible, be sure to purchase this title from your local independent book retailer
More from Ira Levin on Bits & Bobs

Friday, 15 August 2014

Food & Fitness | Exercise Using Youtube

On my journey to leading a healthier lifestyle, I want to exercise more. Whilst living in London I attended the gym, but now I'm living in Wales there isn't a local gym that suits my needs. So basically I exercise at home when Alexander has his first nap of the day. I do own a couple of workout DVD's but they can get a little bit repetitive which is not a fun thing - I like to switch things up often, and so recently I have turned to Youtube for routines to follow. Today I'm going to share a few of my go to channels with you!

Jessica's channel was the first that really got me in to the fitness community on Youtube. I own one of her walking DVD's - Walking for Weight Loss, Wellness & Energy - and just love her peppy personality! I also like how she has different options for whatever level of fitness you are currently at. I'd highly recommend both her channel and DVD's.
Channel | Website

Daniel and Kelli are a husband and wife duo who share a vast variety of workouts that are super easy to follow and allow you to switch from one move to the next seamlessly. The HIIT routines they post are some of my favourites.
Channel | Website

Another channel that makes exercising fun is Cassey Ho's. With an emphasis on Pilates, Cassey Ho will have a video for whatever your target area may be.
Channel | Website

There are an abundance of fitness channels on Youtube, however these three are my favourites. All of the people mentioned above are certified health and fitness professionals, so they know what they're doing and talking about.

At the moment I have a heel injury, and so I'm sticking to stretching and yoga for the time being, but I'd love to know about your workout habits.

How often do you exercise? Are you a gym goer or do you exercise at home like me? Perhaps you use Youtube for working out too? If so, be sure to leave some of your favourite channels below!

As always, thanks for stopping by Bits & Bobs :-)

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Alexander | We Have Our First Curl

When you have a child, many milestones come about... And one that I had to prepare a lot for was the trimming of Alexander's hair. Alexander's curls make quite a statement when untamed, and when they are tamed they don't stay that way for long! His hair has grown at a rapid rate and gets extremely knotty, which makes it a nightmare for not only him, but us as parents, when it comes to brushing it. Many people say not to cut a child's hair before the age of one, but there was no doubt that Alexander's would need to be cut before then. So, at 9 months old, we have gained a new little keepsake - Alexander's first lock of hair.

I'm going to share a couple of before and after pictures below, although they aren't of the best quality. I just thought I'd show the difference. It may seem very minimal, but it has made such a difference when it comes to treating his hair.

Before | After

In the pictures his hair is brushed, but with no product in it - we use an olive oil based product on his hair, previously we used coconut oil.

It's funny how such a little thing we take for granted, and do regularly as adults - such as cutting hair, is so precious.

Whilst I'm at it, I thought I'd share a few more photos of Alexander that have been taken over the past few months.

Alexander is doing well in himself, and progressing nicely. At 9 months old, he has no interest in crawling, but does loves walking - whether that be in his walker or supported by one of us. Alexander enjoys his food, and eats 'real' food now for the most part as well as still having three bottles of formula a day. We have a good routine, which Alexander thrives on, waking at 6ish in the morning and going to bed at 7pm each night with three naps throughout the day. Alexander loves the outdoors; we go for daily walks, as well as water - as you can see from the seaside picture above. Teething terribly, Alexander won't actually take anything to aid in this besides his own hands and dummy.

It's wonderful seeing Alexander growing in to his own and developing an individual personality - his quite the character!

I hope you enjoyed this little update post, I know a few of my readers are always keen to hear how Alexander is doing.

As always, thanks for stopping by Bits & Bobs :-)

Monday, 11 August 2014

Book Organisation + Collection | 2014

Note: This is an extensive post that is also heavy on pictures.

I recently reorganised my bookshelves, with advice from a number of you, and so I thought I'd share the new system here on Bits & Bobs.

Housing my books are two units. A tall six shelf shelving unit and small cube that contains four individual cubby holes. As you can see from the picture below, our bookshelf sits to the side of our bed, and so the very bottom shelf can be a little awkward to access.

The Cubby Holes
The first cubby hole, the upper left hand corner, holds all of my unread books. Now that I have moved it to this area, I'm hoping the space/size of it will help me to purchase less books for the rest of the year - if there isn't room, no books can be purchased. I've got a little 'challenge' planned for myself next year (more on that in a good few months), and so starting the new year with no unread books would really help out with it.

The second cubby hole, the upper right hand corner, holds my classics.

The third cubby hole, the bottom left hand corner, holds my Cecelia Ahern collection. Being one of my favourite authors, I own all of her novels to date.

The fourth cubby hole, the bottom right hand corner, holds all of my children's classics. At the back is my Roald Dahl collection, it did come in a box but I didn't really like how it looked on my shelves. You'll notice the last three books are a different way round to the others, that's because I've read those recently - I'm planning to reread all of them this year. The books up in the front are my World of Stories Vintage Children's Classics collection - this is going to be growing in the future!

The Shelves

Starting from the bottom and working my way up, the first shelf holds my hardback books that don't belong in a 'collection'- they are organised alphabetically. The books off to the other side are ones I intend to get rid of. This pile is typically books I didn't enjoy too much and don't see myself rereading. You may have noticed a few Harry Potter ones there. Of course they are much loved, however I don't own a full Harry Potter collection and have since settled on a different cover art that I wish to collect and so this design is no longer needed.

Up on to the next shelf, we have all of my paperback books that don't belong in a 'collection', again organised alphabetically. If I have more than one book by a given author I have organised them so that the first one I read by said author is first and then they'll follow in reading order from there. Having said that, whilst taking these pictures I realised The Sealed Letter and Room were the wrong way round and so I have rectified that error.

The third shelf kind of looks hodge podge but it makes sense - to me at least! The right hand side continues on from the shelf below, with two books that didn't fit and so my random authors continue to grow up there. (Side note: another error! I intended for the alphabetical order to be a continuation up from the bottom shelf and so technically, in these images, the two books on this shelf are in the wrong order. Again, rectified since noticed). The three stacked books are ones I'm part way through but not currently reading, or pick up occasionally such as the two containing short stories. The left hand side, held up by a bookend, is where I'm storing all my books that will be a 'collection' but I have a number of them to obtain still and so don't warrant a individual place of their own right now.

Fourth shelf up hosts my Michael Connelly collection. All the books standing vertically I have not read yet, well, some I've read but not since I purchased my own ones. One of the good things about Michael Connelly's novels is that although he has written a number of series, all the books within them can be read as standalones.

Last, but most definitely not least, is my Jodi Picoult collection. I do intend to own all of Jodi Picoult's work, but she has quite the backlog and it is ever growing! I have plenty of space for my collection to grow with it though.

Now you may be thinking that was only five shelves - the top shelf is where Nathan stores his books.

If you made it to the end of this post, then thank you! How do you feel about my organisation? I'm happy with my system, but do you have any tips or tricks that you think could improve it? Be sure to share them if you do!

As always, thanks for stopping by Bits & Bobs :-)