beauty

The Me-Time Tag

9:00 am

I've seen this tag floating around Youtube for a few weeks now, loving the idea of it, but it was seeing the lovely Jennie completing the tag on her blog (check it out if you haven't already!) that prompted me to give it a go myself! I'm a strong advocate of 'me-time' and taking good moments out to treat yo' self as you are, obviously, your own best friend and most important person in your life. Get cosy and get reading!



1. What do you like to watch or read during me-time?

I'm a big reader so I love using me-time as a chance to get a good chunk of something read. Reading half a book in one sitting just feels amazing. As for watching, anything really! At the moment I'm a bit of a fiend for Ugly Betty but I've just hit the last season, boo! Something relatively stress-free normally works for me, like Gossip Girl repeats or a nice cooking video on Youtube.

2. What do you wear during me-time?

Day pyjamas, different to night pyjamas. Day pyjamas are what you wear when you want to feel active enough to get dressed, but don't really want to get out of your pyjamas. Just put on a different pair! Problem solved.

3. What are your favourite me-time products?

A good face oil, hand cream, Nuxe Reve de Miel lip balm, Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream, pillow spray, Balance Me face masks, and anything from The Body Shop!

4. Current favourite nail polish?

I'm being a bit boring at the moment and just sticking to clear. I haven't bought any new polishes in a while and I'm trying to let my nails strengthen up.

5. What do you eat or drink during me-time?

Chocolate mug brownie, or a big creamy hot chocolate. If I'm feeling savoury, normally a huge bag of cheese puffs! Classy.

6. Current favourite candle?

As always, the Vanilla Chai candle from Yankee. Perfect for the colder months and an absolute sweet spice delight.

7. Do you ever have outdoor me-time?

I like a good winter walk when I can wrap up warm, so long as it isn't raining! Popping on a podcast and walking through the woods can be so relaxing and a chance to get some good learning done.

8. Would you ever go and watch a film alone?

Whilst I was at uni I did a lot! Sobbing at The Book Thief alone was absolutely bloody brilliant.

9. Favourite online shop?

ASOS, although I try to avoid online shopping these days!

10. Anything to add? What else do you do during me-time?

Colouring books. Collages. Pedicures. Making dens. Spring cleaning.


Let me know what you love to do during your me-time by also doing the tag! I'd love to see the kind of rituals you have when it comes to relaxing and reflecting.

M x

reading

Penguin's Book-A-Day Challenge: Days 24 & 25

10:31 am




The final two books!

Day 24 - For Father Christmas.
Imagination Illustrated: The Jim Henson Journal

I'd like to think Father Christmas has a sense of humour so this huge book on the work of Jim Henson seems like the perfect choice! I haven't had the chance to read this yet but flicking through it looks absolutely amazing. It's a huge volume that goes into a lot of detail!

Day 25 - Under the tree.
Batman: A Visual History

THIS. This is just the best. As a huge Batman fan, whether films, games, comics, whatever, this is the holy grail. Going through the most influential issues of the entire Batman run since the 30s, this book is the thing to read if you want to know all the dirty details about the Caped Crusader himself.

I hope you all had a lovely festive break, whether you celebrate or not, and that you're all feeling well rested! Please let me know what books you got for Christmas yourself in the comments below.

M x

beauty

Empties: Hits & Misses #1

9:00 am


Yes, the ever-popular 'empties' post, something I always look forward to when I see one on my feed. I love seeing how people feel about products, and also joining in with the excitement that comes with actually finishing a bottle of something! This collection of empties from me spans about four months and, fortunately, I've had a lot of hits and very few misses in the time. Let's get started...

Hits

SEVENTEEN Phwoarr Paint in Light - The perfect thick concealer for both undereye circles and to pop over big red spots when you want the extra coverage. Already repurchased.

Korres Jasmine Body Milk - Less of a milk, more of a thick cream in my opinion (and I'm not really a fan of thick body moisturisers), but the scent wins me over to this. Definitely interested in trying more of the jasmine range, however I'm not sure I'd repurchase this simply because of the consistency. 

The Body Shop Aloe Protective Serum - A soothing serum for sensitive skin. Did the job, my skin felt hydrated, but there are other serums from The Body Shop that I'd choose over this one. 

The Body Shop Coconut Milk Body Lotion - Absolutely in love with the Coconut range after using this. The scent is to die for and I love the consistency of this lotion. This is right at the top of my repurchase list.

Eau Thermale Avene Extremely Gentle Cleanser - I've already repurchased this beautiful cleanser. It's perfect for the second cleanse of the evening after removing all of your makeup. Simple massage onto dry skin and wipe off with tissue or a cotton pad. Ta da!

The Body Shop Vitamin E Overnight Serum-in-Oil - I finished both a sample and a full-size of this, and I've already repurchased AND nearly used all of the repurchase too. In case you can't tell, I absolutely love this face oil. Holy grail. 

REN Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk - A lovely soothing cleanser. No huge issues with this, definitely will repurchase at some point.

Melvita Milky Cleansing Oil - A good cleansing oil, but not as effective as the Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil. Nothing wrong with the product, there's just better, cheaper alternatives. 

Origins Clear Improvement Mask - A sample of their dark charcoal face mask. This mask was absolutely amazing and I'd love to treat myself to a full-size version of this. 


Misses

La Roche-Posay Eau Thermale - Water in a can. I'm not sold.

REN Active 7 Radiant Eye Gel - A soothing eye gel but little to no effects were noticed. 

Malin + Goetz Grapefruit Face Cleanser - This broke me out like nobody's business, and it smelled like a cleaning product.

Rimmel Scandaleyes Precision Micro Eyeliner - Dried out in record time.

M x

reading

Penguin's Book-A-Day Challenge: Days 13 - 17

9:00 am




Days thirteen to seventeen coming at you today in my catch-up for Penguin's Book-A-Day Challenge! There's a bit of an odd variety today with two Pratchett's, a stocking filler, an unread contemporary read, and The Wasp Factory.

Day 13 - Stocking filler.
Mini Where's Wally in Hollywood

I actually got this in my stocking a few years ago and jumped up and down in excitement as I LOVED Where's Wally books as a child. This is a cute mini edition and comes with a magnifying lens so you can feel like a true detective when scouting out the stripy man and his friends.

Day 14 - Read in school.
Iain Banks - The Wasp Factory

More like 'read in school and couldn't sleep for weeks'. The Wasp Factory is by far the most horrifying book I've ever read but also a modern masterpiece. A must-read if you want tension, shock, and a unique protagonist.

Day 15 - Favourite colour cover.
Ben Marcus - The Flame Alphabet

I guess this cover is technically cheating as it isn't one colour, but the flame pattern is undeniably beautiful. I'm yet to have read this book but the synopsis really drew me in. 'A mysterious epidemic has struck and the speech of children has become toxic.' Yeah, I know.

Day 16 - For someone I love.
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman - Good Omens

For someone I love, I'd give them a copy of my favourite book. Good Omens is very dear to my heart and now is the perfect time to read it for the first time, then you can catch up with the BBC Radio 4 adaptation that started on the 22nd of December. I cannot wait for it as they've got some really amazing actors voicing the characters and the story is one that can be enjoyed by anyone. The world is ending on Saturday, just after tea...

Day 17 - Funny read.
Terry Pratchett - The Colour of Magic

Any of the Discworld books, really. I've only read a limited selection but I found myself laughing out loud reading the first of the series.

Check back tomorrow for selections eighteen to twenty-three! I hope you're having very happy holidays and are indulging in some lovely book reading.

M x

reading

Penguin's Book-A-Day Challenge: Days 8 - 12

9:00 am




I'm sorry for such slow progress with this tag! As well all know, December is a hectic time of year for anyone, so thank you for waiting, it means a lot to me. Here are the days eight to twelve of Penguin's Book-A-Day Challenge, or Book-A-Whenever if you're as behind as me.

Day 8 - It's a mystery!
Agatha Christie - The Body in the Library

I think the lady herself, Agatha Christie, is synonymous with mystery naturally, so I've included today the first of her books I ever read. It's part of Harper Collins' Marple collection and it actually a smaller size than regular books if you can't see in the photo. I can't remember much of what happens in this story, but I know it sparked my interest in her writing and my collection has been growing ever since.

Day 9 - I judged this by it's cover.
Joe Meno - The Boy Detective Fails

I can't remember for the life of me where I first saw this recommended but it sat on my wishlist for a few years before one day I decided to treat myself to a little book haul. I'm still yet to read it but I really like the cover, the odd size of the book, and it's deckle edges.

Day 10 - Latest purchase.
Sarah Churchwell - Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of the Great Gatsby

I am a huge fan of the Jazz Age and Jazz Age writing, so when I saw this in my local bookshop for £4.99 I knew I had to get it!

Day 11 - Christmas classic.
Helen Fielding - Bridget Jones's Diary

Now, I consider the film version of this a quintessential Christmas film, so the book gets the same treatment. It starts with a New Year's party, so a little late in festive season, but you still can't deny those horrible jumpers and lumpy gravy. 'Just sieve it, Una!'

Day 12 - Book of poems.
Sylvia Plath - Ariel

I picked my most beautiful book of poems for this because, well, just look at the cover. It's absolutely stunning. I picked this up before I'd read The Bell Jar (which I've only read over the past summer and loved) but it gave me a taste of her wonderful writing and made me want more!

Thank you for persevering with me, and days thirteen to seventeen will be published tomorrow. I hope you're having a wonderful festive season and please feel free to comment on any books you'd pick for this challenge!

M x

reading

Penguin's Book-A-Day Challenge: Day Seven

4:46 pm



When it comes to childhood favourites, there is nobody but Spike Milligan. Even today I can still pick this up and absolutely love it. I'd recommend it as a present for any children you're unsure of what to give this Christmas as it really has universal appeal. I thought I'd lost my copy and had to buy a new, smaller version to fill the void, only to find this hiding behind some other books! It even has my name written in my neatest handwriting from when I first got it.

M x

comics

Penguin's Book-A-Day Challenge: Day Six

10:00 am

'Everyone should read' is something I could go on all day about, but I think my choice for today is an important one. So many people poo-poo reading comic books/graphic novels/whichever name you prefer and they're really missing out. I know it's the typical choice when it comes to introducing people to the genre, but it's an important book and one that changed the landscape of the way we appreciate comic books. I present Watchmen. Damaged, very human 'superheroes' who struggle to make the right decisions.


M x

reading

Penguin's Book-A-Day Challenge: Day Five

2:12 pm

Day five and we're onto the category 'quintessentially British', and what's more British than University Challenge in the 1980s? Probably a lot of things, but I can't help but think of Starter for Ten when I think of grass quadrants, poor weather, and bad jumpers. It's also one of my absolute favourite books and fuels my obsession with University Challenge. Fun fact: I tried out for my university's team. I didn't get in, naturally. 



M x

reading

Penguin's Book-A-Day Challenge: Day Four

10:00 am

'For chilly nights' is a category of book I know very well, being from the cold and dreary countryside of Britain. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love it! There's not much better for me than snuggling up with a warm drink, hot water bottle, and cosy socks, accompanied with a book. The one I have the most cuddled-up memories of is Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go. It's British countryside setting oozes knitted jumpers, wellies, and rainy days inside.


M x

reading

Penguin's Book-A-Day Challenge: Day Three

10:00 am

Day Three of Penguin's Book-A-Day Challenge is all about what books are on my Christmas list. I usually just direct my family members towards my long wishlist of hundreds of books with nothing in particular weighing in above any others, but this year there was some direction involve.

The top of my list was Richard Ayoade's Ayoade on Ayoade, naturally. I'm a huge fan and I just know this is going to be bewilderingly surreal.

Next up is Chris Hadfield's An Astronauts Guide to Life on Earth, written on his experiences training on Earth as well as up in the stars. I can't wait to read about his views on life and how to live it as he seems like an amazingly positive and inspirational person.

Finally are the three Rookie Yearbooks, which I'm still shocked that I don't own considering how much of a fan I am of the site and Tavi Gevinson.

M x

reading

Penguin's Book-a-Day Challenge: Days One and Two

10:28 am



I saw this post on the wonderful Book Journal, initially intended to be an Instagram challenge but shaken up by Jennie (such a lovely girl), and thought I'd give it a go myself. Posts have been very lacking around here lately, something I'll discuss another time, but a lovely book challenge is something I can't pass up, especially at this time of year. As I'm already a day behind, I'll be doing days one AND two today.

First up is 'iconic first line', and I bestow this award onto Franz Kafka's haunting moral tale of Metamorphosis. You can't deny how this line draws readers into the story, especially upon its first release!




Second for today is 'last read', which for me was the first volume of Kelly Sue DeConnick's 2011 Captain Marvel run, but I don't have a copy of that to take a photo of. Therefore we can settle with my previous read to that which was Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway A Room of One's Own which I'm writing an essay on currently. I love the cover of this edition, it's beautifully textured and part of Penguin's Great Ideas series. It's a definite life aim to get the whole collection.


I think this is such a lovely idea from Penguin and I'd love to see if you're completing any of these challenges too!
M x

music

Mixtape #8

9:00 am

Time for a brand new mixtape post, and this time it's just a little selection of songs I've been loving at the moment. As always, it includes some Haim, and also some tracks from Gerard Way's solo album which I haven't stopped listening to throughout October. I hope you find something you enjoy in this selection! M x


lifestyle

October Favourites

5:11 pm



October has been a good month, and I'm sad to see it end. October was the month I officially started my masters degree and I've got to say so far I'm absolutely loving it. The classes have been such a surprise to me as I've enjoyed every piece of reading material, every discussion we've had, and I'm fortunate to have some amazing, passionate tutors who have gotten me more excited about my studies than I ever deemed possible. Every doubt I ever had about starting this degree have gone straight out of the window and I can only look forward to everything I've got to come.

As part of the MA love, I've fallen in love with Thomas Pynchon's writing. I won't go into too much detail as I covered it in my previous post which you can find here!

Naturally after studying hard all week, I've been partial to some hardcore relaxation. My favourite candle this month is really an old favourite of mine from the Copenhagen Candle Company in the scent Sweet Orange and Amber. It's such a huge candle, I feel like I've been burning it for years, but I'm going to be so upset when it runs out. The only place I've seen selling these candles is TK Maxx, so it's definitely worth a look, plus the candles they sell there are always so well priced for the quality you get. Teamed up with my cosy New Look slippers I treated myself to a few weekends ago, I've been pretty chilled out.

And of course, who could forget...


I hope you've all had a wonderful October, and happy November!
M x

haul

Tiny Book Haul

10:00 am


Being on a budget doesn't mean you can't buy books, right? As a literature student I feel like I can get away with buying books whenever the book strikes, and yesterday was one of those days where the mood...struck. I've called this a 'tiny book haul' not because the haul itself is tiny, but because three of the four books are, in fact, really adorably small. I was wandering past Hatchards Bookshop in St Pancras when this mood struck and decided to take my first peek in there. I've got to say I was amazed. Gorgeous reprints of rare books, signed copies, publications from small presses. It was a dream, and when I saw an enormous selection of tiny books along the counter I knew I had to pick up a few: Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own as part of the Penguin Great Ideas series, a print of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's speech We Should All Be Feminists, and Mark Forsyth's The Unknown Unknown that I had seen featured in many a Booktuber's 'Books Are My Bag' video. These three ranged in price between £1.99 and £5.

After emerging from Hatchards victorious, I continued on my way to classes via The British Library, which I pop into most days I study to have a look at their 'Treasures' collection room. I love looking at all of the original manuscripts and trying to get myself to understand that these works were in the hands of the very writers themselves. There's a definite air in that room of something that can't be comprehended. On my way out I popped into the bookshop and grabbed myself a copy of Thomas Pynchon's Inherent Vice. I've recently studied Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 which I fell in love with, as well as the mystery of Pynchon himself. He's worth reading up about if you don't know anything about him. After reading that and knowing that Paul Thomas Anderson is soon releasing his adaptation of Inherent Vice, I decided this should be my next of Pynchon's masterpieces to delve into. I can't wait.

Have you picked yourself up any books recently, and do any of you have a particular Pynchon work that you'd recommend to a new fan?

M x

lifestyle

Taking Stock

12:00 pm


First of all, if you're not following Holly in Your Pocket, you should. I'm always excited for the next funny and inspiring post she's going to put up. Now this is something I've been meaning to do for a while after I saw her post Taking Stock and absolutely fell in love with the idea. The lovely Kelly from Tea. Books. Eyeliner also did her own version of the post, so I thought I'd join in with all the fun and give it a go myself! Simply put, it's a fun way of seeing all of the things you're doing, thinking, and feeling at the moment and, well, taking stock of it all. As someone who's incredibly busy at the moment (hello, masters degree) it's important to get back to the present and give yourself a moment of focus. So here we go, taking stock!

Making: a mess with all of the books I have to read.
Drinking: the dregs of a cold cup of tea!
Reading: The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood.
Looking: at new, exciting ways to procrastinate.
Playing: Lego Batman 2 to 100% completion.
Enjoying: the sunlight coming through my window.
Waiting: for the motivation to get up and make a snack!
Liking: my degree so far, thank goodness.
Wishing: I had some inspiration for my assignment.
Wondering: what the photo for this post should be.
Loving: being surrounded by family.
Hoping: this initial assessment for my degree doesn't go too badly!
Marveling: at the amount of work I'm actually doing.
Needing: food.
Wearing: a new soft black jumper, pyjama bottoms, and slippers.
Following: a lot of lovely ladies on Twitter.
Noticing: that it's nearly lunchtime and I'm still hungry.
Knowing: a lot more than I did four weeks ago at the start of my course.
Thinking: about the exciting opportunities my friends and family are getting.
Feeling: chirpy.
Bookmarking: things I need to watch!

M x

film

The Harry Potter Tag

12:00 pm



I found this glorious tag a little while ago over at A Little Boat Sailing and made sure to get round to it once I had the time. I have so many happy memories of the Harry Potter series, both books and films, still watching them on a pretty regular basis to get my fix. It would feel wrong to pass up the opportunity to talk about J K Rowling's wonderful gift to the world.


1. What is your favourite book?

Goblet of Fire. I know it may be a bit of a controversial choice seeing as I've heard so many people saying it's their least favourite film and, in turn, that taints the book for them, but I still love it. Its opening chapter is by far one of the best in the series and still gives me chills when I read it. Plus I like how the format is different to all of the other books (not that there's anything wrong with the others), and there's such an influx of new and important characters, including Mad-Eye and Fleur. Plus who could hate the Barty Crouch storyline? So much drama. 


2. What is your favourite film?

I love the atmosphere of Prisoner of Azkaban, however cringe-worthy it can be at times. I also really like the last two for their darkness and how each of the characters turns into someone new as they encounter this darkness. I'd probably say my favourite is any of them except the first two. However sweet and nostalgic they are, I don't think I could really call them 'good films' in the traditional sense. Child actors grate me.

3. What is your least favourite book?

I don't have a least favourite book, I don't think. None of them stick out to me as being worse than the rest.

4. What is your least favourite film?

Chamber of Secrets. I don't know if I've just watched it too many times, but by the time Harry, Ron, and Lockhart get to the Chamber, I'm bored and want to switch it off. I also really can't deal with young Ginny, no offence. 

5. Which parts of the books/films made you cry?

The first time I saw Hermione's scene with her parents in the first Deathly Hallows film. 

6. If you could hook up with any character who would it be?

Sirius or Draco. Pre-books Sirius, or post-books Draco, although not with the weird beard in the epilogue. Please stop.

7. Who is your favourite character?

Hermione. Is there any other answer? She knows her intellect, she knows her strengths, she knows her weaknesses, she knows what's important and what needs to be done, and she does it. She never falters. She knows what's best for her and what's best for others. She knows when to help and when to stay out of the way. 

8. Who is your least favourite character?

UMBRIDGE.

9. What is your least favourite line?

I don't think there are any lines that really stick with me. Some of the Ron-Fleur stuff from Goblet of Fire annoys me, but that's natural.

10. What would your Patronus be?

A squirrel. I am never unhappy when I see a squirrel. I also think we share the same insatiable appetite and ability to shove too much food in our mouths. 

11. If you could have the invisibility cloak, resurrection stone or elder wand, which would you choose?

Hmm. I love the idea of an invisibility cloak, but I'd say elder wand, as long as I actually have the magical power to use it. Otherwise it would be completely pointless. 

12. What house would you be in?

Ravenclaw. 

13. If you could meet any member of the cast who would it be?

Emma Watson because she is a true inspiration.

14. If you were on the Quidditch team, what position would you play?

I would not be on the Quidditch team. No-one would ever allow that to happen. Although being a Beater does sound like good stress release!

15. Were you happy with the ending?

Erase the epilogue and I think we're all happy.

16. How much does Harry Potter mean to you?

It's not really possible to express into words. It's an integral part of my life and always will be.

I tag all of you reading this as I'd love to read about your Harry Potter experiences!
M x

lifestyle

Some Saturday Thoughts

5:30 pm






After weeks, and probably months at this point, lacking any sort of blog inspiration, it's slowly coming back to me in dribs and drabs. Most of this is thanks to some wonderful books I've been reading recently (my newest 'Recent Reads' post can be found here), but some is also just thanks to taking some time off of writing and allowing myself to not feel guilty for the lack of posts. 

A couple of updates really:

 - I start my MA on Wednesday, eek! I'm so excited, but beyond nervous too. I'll be happy to be back in an academic environment and have some goals to aim for, but on the other hand it'll be completely new and, I imagine, ten times harder than what I'm used to. However my course books I've been reading over the summer have been amazing and I can't wait to sink my teeth into them critically!

 - Over the summer I managed to get myself some work experience at a London archive, which, honestly, I didn't expect to get as it's such an impressive institution with a waiting list. It was a brilliant experience though and I was sad to leave (even though I did get to go back a few times after my placement after being asked to work a bit more on their project, which I was hugely flattered about). 

 - Still nothing positive on the job front, much to my disappointment. The very few classes for my MA makes this time perfect for getting a day job, studying in the evenings, but, alas, no luck so far. I'm not letting it put me off though and have been applying for jobs across the whole of summer, and I won't give up. Luckily there's a lot of babysitting that needs doing in my area at the moment, so that's a little bit of cash in my pocket to cover commuting to classes, hoorah!

So there we go. It's not hugely exciting, but excitement isn't really on the agenda at the moment. I'm enjoying taking it easy now as I know in the next few months my work load is going to go through the roof! Be sure to watch this space for some new blog posts cropping up over the next few weeks, probably mostly about literature. I can't help it, all I've been doing is reading!

M x

P.S. The photos in the post pretty much cover that I've been up to today: laundry, reading, crosswords, wearing stripes. Very glam.

reading

Recent Reads #4

4:20 pm



Note: I had definitely run out of surfaces to shoot on as I decided to wash every soft furnishing at the same time, so here are some books on my mattress. I think the check print is quite autumnal though, no?

Eat Pray Love - Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert's wildly popular memoir was something I'd intended to read for a long time, with a secondhand copy of it lying around on my shelves for about five years before I gave it a real go. My mum had nothing but praise for it upon finishing so I decided now was better than never. The book tells Liz's story as she travels the world after I guess what could be called an 'existential crisis' after a divorce and a failed passionate rebound. She begins in Italy, definitely my favourite part of the story, where she eats to her hearts content and focuses on the pleasures of life. I loved this part the most as it felt like this was the time where she was discovering the importance of treating herself and being her own best friend. Even though I loved the rest of the book too (praying in India, and 'love' in Indonesia), I felt less connected to the story, which is a shame as I felt very at one with Liz at the beginning, despite us having very little in common. Worth a read if you're interested in the idea of self-discovery. The film however, in a word, is bad.

4/5

The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

A painful tale of a young woman living in New York City undertaking a summer internship. The 'spirit of the age' (a phrase I dislike, but perfectly sums up what I'm trying to say) is really felt in Plath's words but I found myself still able to relate to the narrator's tribulations as she maneuvered the world as a 'new adult'. Her story is one of tragedy, mental illness, and the mistreatment of women, but one that desperately needs to be read by women and men alike. I can say I've never read anything like this before, but it's made me a true lover of Plath and eager to read her poetry, as The Bell Jar was her only novel.

4/5

Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro

This is one of those books where the less you know about it, the better, as you can take a journey of discovery along with the characters. The story is narrated by Cathy and covers her childhood in a boarding school of sorts with her friends Ruth and Tommy. An air of mystery surrounds the school and their upbringing as they're told they are 'different' and 'special', as if they are 'chosen ones'. Revelations upon revelations occur within this book and with every single one you're shocked, in awe, heartbroken, angry, any emotion you can name. It's such a beautiful read and, even thought I'm not a massive re-reader, one I would happily consume over and over again for its elegantly written phrases and the nostalgic images of childhood it creates. This was quick to shoot onto my list of favourite books, plus the film actually manages to transfer the story and atmosphere of the British countryside incredibly well onto the screen.

5/5

Definitely a successful round of reading in my opinion. There are a few more things I've read in the passing months that I'm looking forward to sharing with you, so watch this space! Also, please share with me any recommendations you have either based on what I've loved above, or just things you yourself have enjoyed.

M x

reading

The A-Z Bookish Survey

8:00 am

I recently came across this tag on The Book Journal and knew I had to give it a go, so here's the A-Z Bookish Survey, where I talk too much about The Hunger Games and can't actually think of any inventive answers!

Author you've read the most books from:

I think it's going to be the same for a lot of people, really - good old J.K.

Best sequel ever:


I'm going to have to say Catching Fire as it does such a good job expanding the world of Panem that we already know, and taking the format of the Games to the next level. Plus, it's a whole lot darker and you get to meet the best characters in the series, namely Plutarch, Finnick, and Joanna.

Currently reading:


Orlando by Virginia Woolf. I'm really upset because I only have 20 or so pages left and I've been absolutely loving it, however it does mean I can watch the film with Tilda Swinton (swoon) in. 



Drink of choice whilst reading:

Probably not tea, despite my first thought. I would end up needing a wee every half an hour, so I'll settle for my bottle of water. I am partial to a peppermint tea though when I'm in relaxation mode.

E-reader or physical books:

I'm going to say physical books even though I completely see the appeal of ebooks for long holidays and travelling. There's a strong market for both but I doubt print books would ever fall out of fashion.

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school:

Tommy from Never Let Me Go. No doubt in my heart.

Glad you gave this book a chance:

I would actually say Orlando, the book I'm reading at the moment. I thought I'd really struggle to make it through but I adore it now.

Hidden gem of a book:

Joyland by Stephen King. It's not one of his well-known ones and feels very YA, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It's a fast read so I'd recommend it to anyone!

Important moment in your reading life:

For any of you who have read The Wasp Factory, you'll know what I'm talking about, but I won't give it away to anyone who isn't in the know. This Iain Banks work taught me that books can be horrifying when before I didn't believe words on a page could have the same psychological impact as a film or TV show. I was very wrong and will never, ever forget this book. He was an absolutely superb writer and could construct such realistic images for his readers.



Just finished:

The graphic novel series Y: The Last Man. An absolutely incredible read. Yorick Brown and his pet monkey, Ampersand, are the last two males remaining on the planet after a mysterious occurrence kills off all of the others. That's all you need to know. That, and that all of the female characters are positively kick-ass.

Kinds of books you won't read:

After attempting a historical romance recently (I can't even remember who wrote it), I'm probably going to swear off them for a few years. It was so dull.

Longest book you've ever read:

Ulysses. ULYSSES.

Major book hangover because of...:

The Hunger Games trilogy. I whizzed through them all so quickly and now feel lost without their world. Waiting around for Mockingjay Part One on the big screen is agony.

Number of bookcases you own:

Only one, alas. But it's one of those huge IKEA units, and double-layered. I really need to buy a new one.

One book you've read multiple times:

I'm not really one for re-reading as my reading list is already so long, but I have read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone a handful of times for nostalgia's sake.

Preferred place to read:

Since moving back home, I've got my own sofa on the other side of my bedroom that creates the cosiest little nook of blankets and pillows to read it. It's sufficiently far away enough from my laptop too to stop me from being distracted! I also really love reading on public transport with just atmospheric sounds around me.

Quote that you like from a book you've read:

'The end is in the beginning, and yet you go on.' - Samuel Beckett, Endgame.



Reading regret:

Whinging when I was at university that I had no time to read, when I knew damn well that I had plenty of time to read. That was pretty much three years of reading time wasted.

Series you've started and need to finish:

A Series of Unfortunate Events. I think I got about 6 or 7 books in before I fell into a reading lull and never got through the rest. However I do plan to get through the series again at some point!


Three of your all-time favourite books:


Good Omens - Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman (for the laughs)
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak (for the tears)
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro (for some extra tears, just in case)


Unapologetic fangirl for:


The Hunger Games. I don't even care. This obsession has just grown in me and I'm trying to push it onto as many people as possible. I hate how people just shrug YA off as 'not real literature'. 

Very excited for this release more than others:

I'm not sure, I'm pretty bad at keeping up with book news. I only know about things once they're released! Maybe Meg Cabot's new fiction that was announced. I always loved The Princess Diaries.

Worst bookish habits:

I personally don't think it's a bad habit, but a lot of people have looked down on me for it, and that's writing in books. I think books are an experience and it's important to highlight passages that made you feel certain things, annotate parts that reminded you of other stories/films/art, etc. Documenting the experience is really important, I feel. 

X marks the spot - start a the top of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

Mockingjay

Your latest book purchase:

I recently picked up It by Alexa Chung and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. I was giggling in the bookshop over how every YA book on display had a quote from John Green on either the back or front cover. He is the YA king. 



Zzzz-snatcher book - last book that kept you up WAY too late:

For the last time I'll say it: The Hunger Games.

I tag all of you lovely book readers out there! I'd love to know your answers to these questions and see what books you recommend reading. You can also add me as a friend on Goodreads here if you want.

M x

lifestyle

A Little Day Trip

6:03 pm



















When my mum invited me to Brighton for the day a few weekends ago, it was a no-brainer. I hadn't been since I was little and had heard so many wonderful things about the city through the blogging community. It seems to be the 'other' capital of blogging, away from London, with salty-sea views and any food you could set your mind on. It was a very low-key day, as most of the best ones are, with chicken gyoza from Kokoro on the high street, very vinegary chips from the seafront, and, of course, a wander around Tiger. It was also a day of bargains thanks to Body Shop discounts (£5 Silky Cleansing Oil, yes please). I definitely fell in love with Brighton and have a long list of things to go and see the next time I'm there.

M x

music

Mixtape #7

3:59 pm

Another specifically named mixtape, this time being the 'songs you may not have heard before but definitely need to listen to right now because they're amazing'.

 

Enjoy!
M x

P.S. All of my playlists are constantly getting updated, so it's worth following them and seeing what gets added.

You're the Best Around!

8:44 pm

Source

Just a little belated thank you for over two-hundred followers! I thought I'd leave it a bit so I didn't post saying 'THANK YOU FOR 200 GUYS' and then lose ten followers.

It really means so much to me that you've all stuck around to hear what I have to say, even if I'm not really saying anything on a regular basis.

Stay sparkly.
M x


inspiration

Send Yourself a Love Letter

1:09 pm

Source: Instagram

I've found myself in a bit of a funk lately, despite all the amazing opportunities I'm having and a bright future ahead. Being pretty much jobless with nothing to study since May really takes its toll, but that's totally natural when you're in one place for an extended period of time with no 'goals' so to speak of. The worries about the way I'm feeling have passed and I'm ready to move on with a more positive attitude, these two things giving me the idea that I had last night. 

I remembered long ago in my internet past the service that came about where you could email yourself in the future and it always seemed like such a novel idea, but now I've definitely found a good use for it. So last night I sent myself an email, for a year into the future, detailing where I am now, who my closest friends are, and what I hope to achieve in the next year. The idea is, basically, to motivate my current self to strive for these things, and to remind my future self how far they've come in a year. I've asked myself questions, too, like 'which of your close friends are still around?' I've given myself prompts like 'send this person an email/message/text asking how they are' or 'tell this person how important they are to you'. 

It feels like such a good idea to me and it's definitely sparked a new source of motivation in me. I'd definitely recommend yourself to do the same if you've been uninspired and in a bit of a funk, like me. This time next year we can all be surprised by these emails from ourselves and be proud of all we've achieved. 

I used FutureMe to do this, but there are so many services around where you can do the same. Maybe send one to your friend telling them how much they mean to you, or a family member with funny little anecdotes spread through the year! 

Spread the love,
M x

personal

Take a Vacation...

9:00 am

This is just a quick update just to let you lovely people know I'll be taking a short blogging break over the next few weeks. I've got work experience coming up, and I should probably start preparing for my masters, so planning blog posts isn't really at the top of my schedule at the moment. Thank you for sticking with me though, I really appreciate it, and I'll be back before you know it! 

While I'm gone, and on a vaguely song-related tangent, is anyone else still getting over Ryan and Jon leaving Panic! at the Disco? That happened FIVE years ago. Here's a cheerful summer tune from The Young Veins, the band they formed after they left. Ryan never did marry me. How rude. 

M x

beauty

Some Kiko Finds & My Perfect Blush

9:00 am


I popped into Kiko a few weeks ago not intending to buy anything at all and ended up leaving with a bag of goodies. But isn't that the way things always go? I was on my way back from a really good job interview and was riding the wave of good vibes, which is why I ended up treating myself to a few things. Spoiler alert: I didn't get the job. But I did find my perfect blush.

Rock Attraction Blush in Pop Apricot - £7
They had a lot of reduced stock in a collection by the counter and this is where I picked up most of my purchases. The first thing that caught my eye is this pink blush which I picked up as my blush collection is quite lacking. Swatching it on my hand, it's such a perfect colour for my skintone, and when I tried it on my cheeks at home later I discovered this is the IDEAL shade for me. It looks incredibly natural.


Street Fashion Eyeshadow Palette in Addictive Song - £9, Boulevard Rock Eyes Brush - £5
My next picks were an eyeshadow palette (when is an eyeshadow palette not a good idea?) and a duo fibre eye brush that cost me a mere £5. The palette really stood out to me with its mix of neutrals and then pinkier shades that I'm not a regular user of. You can see in the swatches below that the colours aren't anything too bright and offensive, ideal for if you want to use colour without going OTT.


I also picked up one of their Long Lasting Stick Eyeshadows in Shade 05, a lovely shimmery bronze. These products are pretty well known now as dupes for the By Terry Ombre Blackstar eyeshadow sticks at a fraction of the price. I picked up mine for £6.90 and the shade is just gorgeous. Unfortunately I forgot to swatch it, so sorry about that.

I've been very pleasantly surprised by all of the things I picked up from Kiko and definitely would be open to trying some more! Have you tried any of their products before? Leave your recommendations in the comments!

M x