Sunday, 29 June 2014

(Late) Fiction Friday: Getting your Fiction Fix while Sick!

These past few weeks I haven't been very well with a combination of tonsillitis and sinusitis, hence the lack of blog posts which I apologise for. And for this being two days late, I've pretty much been sleeping and eating and feeling like death so it took me a while to take the pictures! In my opinion, the worst thing about being poorly is being bored and poorly. But- what do you do when you can't read because your eyes feel like they're about to pop out of your skull?



Here are my ways of getting your fiction fix even when you're not feeling great!



#1: Audiobooks.
Thank the lord for Harry Potter read by Stephen Fry. The past couple weeks I've listened to all of Goblet of Fire and have started back on Chamber of Secrets. However, I don't count these towards what I've read in the month because sometimes I fall asleep listening to it and miss out big chunks. I am reading the first book at the moment with a friend who has never read Harry Potter but that's a whole different blog post!

#2: Podcasts, specifically Welcome to Night Vale.
I'm a big fan of Welcome to Night Vale, I think it's a really original podcast that's really interesting to listen to with it's short 30 minute episodes and unexplainable story. I'd say give it a chance, listen to the first one and I'm sure you'll be hooked. A must if you see mysterious lights pass overhead while we all pretend to sleep.

#3: Nostalgia on Netflix in the form of Pokémon.
Occasionally my eyeballs would stop hurting enough for me to curl up with my phone and watch some TV. The Netflix app kept me company and I started watching Pokémon: Indigo League from the beginning! If you remember from my 30 before 30 list, completing the Pokémon game is top of the list so I feel like I'm getting some valuable research in too :')



#4: Fraiser.
Frasier has been my 'poorly show' for years now, starting way back when I had a portable DVD player instead of a laptop and found the season 1 DVDs on a day off school. In fact I mentioned the DVDs in my Christmas Wishlist, the christmas specials in my Best Christmas Specials post and the DVDs again in my What I got for Christmas post! I have a love for radio, even though I don't listen to it much myself, and this show about a radio host psychiatrist is just what the doctor ordered while you rest.

How do you get your Fiction Fix when you don't feel well?

Monday, 23 June 2014

The Manchester Essence Event!

Yesterday I dragged myself out of bed, tripping over my cousins who were camped out on my floor after going to see Elton John, and got myself into Manchester for the Essence Event. Essence are a German brand that are launching in the UK for the first time so myself and lots of other local bloggers were invited to check out the brand, get our nails done, and test out some of the products! I even got a name badge with my blog name, pretty cool. Anyway, I took a couple pictures that can show you around better than I can describe...

The Pamper Puff Girls seeing to Vicki's nails.


My Pamper Puff Girls manicure and just a few of the Essence products available!
The rainbow of colours offered by Essence at the moment! Which is your favourite?
Of course we can't forget nail care and nail art!



There were lots of tables set out to sit and mess about with products at!




They have a huge variety of mascaras and oh- the mini palettes. Post on these coming soon!



I'm really glad that Essence are launching in the UK, they're going to fill in the gap in the market for a Cruelty Free, affordable and fashionable brand. 50% of their stock is rotated every year to fit with new trends and the prices will range from about £2-£5. Opening in over 200 of Wilko's stores, they will be easy to find too. Expect lots of reviews coming up as they were very generous and I'm really looking forward to see what this brand can do. 

Thank you to Essence and Flipside PR for such a fun event, it was great learning about the brand and getting to talk to fellow bloggers. Especially CaitlinVickiSiobhan and Heather!

Have you heard of Essence before? Are you looking forward to their UK launch?

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Health Food Store Haul & some Beauty Goodies!

Something a little different from me today. Last week I watched a documentary on Veganism that really got me thinking and after a chat with my trainer, she leant me the book 'Skinny Bitch'. I'm about half-way though and I'm seriously considering making the switch, but unlike when I went Vegetarian, I want to ease into it this time. So I popped round to NutriCentre and picked up a couple things to try.



Yum!



Lets start with the snack foods- I love snacking. But my snacks of choice tend to be chocolate and fruit and there's only so much fruit I can eat. These vegan chocolate chip cookies were on sale at my store and oh they are calling to me, I've had two so far and they are so good. You can't even tell they're Vegan. I also found this mini little dairy free chocolate bar as well and I'm a sucker for anything that small. It makes me feel like a giant when I eat it! Taste-wise though, it's basically just dark chocolate. Nothing special here. And I picked up a bag of my old favourites- Raw Coconut chips. Coconut is full of healthy fats plus it tastes amazing. Perfect for a sweet tooth.



I picked up another of my protein powder too because I ran out last month and thought I'd kick start the less-dairy transition and try Almond milk. I've tried soy in the past and wasn't a fan but almond isn't as bad. It still tastes a bit odd to me but that's just because I've been drinking cows milk for about 18 years.



Coconut oil! Given rave reviews for both nutrition and beauty, this is actually my second jar of this magical stuff. I cannot be without it.
And peanut butter. I grabbed this because of the 'No Palm Oil' on the right there, Palm Oil is having a really big impact on animal welfare where it is being grown but it's in so many peanut butters! Peanut butter is my favourite, I eat it by the spoonful, but Palm Oil is a big no-go so Meridian is my new best friend.



I told you there was going to be beauty goodies! I've recently finished a big pot of Emma Hardie's cleansing balm but for me- Oil cleansing works much better (post about this coming soon). I picked up Sweet Almond Oil as I have dry skin. In the clearance section where I found the cookies there was the Weleda Stretch Mark massage oil for half price, don't worry, I'm not pregnant as the bottle suggests but I do have my fair share of tiger stripes so I'm interested to see if this has any effect.



And lastly! By the counter were these little tubs of 'therapeutic dough infused with essential oils' and I was powerless to resist the one that promises to increase awareness and trigger good ideas- something every blogger needs, right?

What do you think of my haul? Any Vegans with tips out there? 

Friday, 13 June 2014

Fiction Friday: My Favourite Cancelled TV Shows!

TV cancellation season has been and gone like a hurricane. With the news that Community will not be reaching #sixseasonsandamovie and Revolution being cut short at two seasons, I am not pleased. Cancelled TV shows are often some of the best in my opinion, mainly because they don't run long enough to be ruined *cough*How I Met Your Mother*cough*.



So in no particular order!

Source
Endgame.
A one-season wonder. This show is a crime solving kind of show, the only problem being that the main character, a Russian chess player can't leave the hotel he stays at. Like most of the shows on this list- it was different, it was great, it stepped away from procedural cop shows and would be the one show I'd bring back if I won the lottery because it would be so cheap (in terms of TV show production) and yet so fulfilling. Showcase cancelled it, Hulu picked it up then decided not to continue, why do they do this? Why? This is technically only streaming on Hulu but you can find it floating about the internet.

Source


Firefly.
You didn't think a list like this wasn't going to mention Firefly, did you?
Fox killed this show, airing 11 of the 14 episodes out of order. They wanted it dead and it did end up cancelled. But not before people got so hooked it ended up getting a movie, Serenity, to tie up some of the loose ends and a comic book. I think that's the sign of a good show, that 11 out of order episodes can get a bigger following then hundreds of in order ones. Browncoats forever!


Source


Pushing Daisies.
The jokes. The macabre. The colours. The clothes. The narration. Everything about this show is so beautifully original. We only got two seasons but they're my go-to show when I need a pick me up. This was an ABC cancellation and despite rumours of a comic book, a kickstarter and a broadway show- nothing has come out of it. The creator Bryan Fuller is now doing Hannibal, and certain Pushing Daisies actors do pop up from time to time but nothing could fill the daisy shaped hole in my heart.


Source


Ringer. 
Buffy's back! For one season anyway. When unlucky circumstances make her the sole witness to a murder, newly sober Bridget adopts the identity of her estranged twin sister, Siobhan ... who turns out to have serious problems of her own. This got 22 episodes before being unceremoniously axed. Why CW, why? After it's cancellation it was petitioned, was nominated for several awards, and was one of CW's most watched shows. I'm still hoping for a comeback.


Source



Reaper.
Imagine Supernatural, with comedy and less obtuse actors. Bam! Reaper! This was even put out by the same network and has a main character called Sam. He wakes up on his 21st birthday and finds that his parents sold his soul to the devil and now he has to reap escaped souls from hell or the devil (the amazing Ray Wise with one heck of a spray tan) is going to- well it won't be fun. Plus he has a crush on a girl he works with and two adorable best friends trying to 'help' him. Unfortunately, despite some seriously cool plans for Season 3, CW cancelled this one too but not before two really fun seasons.

If you're looking for shows to watch that are short and sweet to get through but you can watch over and over and over and over again without getting bored- these are for you!


Have any of your shows been cancelled? What is your favourite cancelled TV show?

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

What is a 'Guilty Pleasure'?

Today is going to be a bit of a ramble/rant/whatnot about the recent discussions on shame for reading YA, if you have no idea what I'm talking about then I point you to this article where Ruth Graham wants adults who read YA fiction to be embarrassed. It reminded me a lot of when Alan Moore was unpleasant about adults reading superhero comic books in this interview. Should people be reading specifically for their age and not younger? Do we need to section bookstores into age categories or stop adults going into see PG films at the movies?

In short- no. People reading YA books that aren't young adults aren't hurting anyone. Adults reading comic books aren't hurting anyone. If you're not hurting anyone or yourself then it's really nobodies business to judge you. Going back to the title, I realised as I thought about this post more and more, that I get asked now and then what my 'guilty pleasure' TV show is, or book, or movie. And I think that is where the problem lies. People being made to feel guilty about getting pleasure from watching or reading whatever they want because people judge them. And that seems pointless.

Have I ever felt embarrassed about things I enjoy? Yes. Am I anymore? Not so much.

I like Snooki. I like books about werewolves called Kitty. I like comic books. I like shows about cosplayers. I like writing stories about TV show characters. My favourite movie is You've Got Mail, not Citizen Kane. I have no idea who just brought out a new album but I know all the words to this song in Romanian.
Nobody is going to stop me liking what I like or make me feel embarrassed by what I choose to spend my time on. And I would never want for people to feel embarrassed or ashamed to talk about things they enjoy to me.



Phew! That turned into a bit of a rant. 
What do you think of 'guilty pleasures'? What are your un-guilty pleasures?

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Astrid & Miyu: June Secret Box!

It's Astrid & Miyu Secret Box time again! If you weren't aware, Astrid & Miyu have a quarterly subscription service where four times a year in March, June, September and December, you can pay £39 for a 'Secret Box' of their jewellery picked for you according to what you say on their questionnaire. I got the March box and you can see what I got here! As you can tell from this post, I didn't stick to drooling over Etsy.




I wasn't sure I was getting this months box and I was a little disappointed that there wasn't another questionnaire since tastes do change and I would've liked to try some of their gold jewellery but anyway! It dropped through my letterbox yesterday and I ripped it open in extreme excitement.



The first thing I opened was the 'Make Me Happy delicate wishbone charm Necklace in Silver' worth £29. This is really beautiful, the cubic zirconia stones really flash in the light and it's a great layering piece but- maybe I'm being picky- as someone who doesn't eat meat, the idea of having a bone charm around my neck makes me feel a little bleh.


Then there was the 'Rose Gold Diamante Initial "I" Ring' worth £39 (the price of the box right there). Unfortunately I don't have the best initial for initial jewellery and looking at this, it looks more like a bar than an I but it's still pretty and I'll wear it! I do prefer the rings I got in the March box though.




There were no beauty samples this month, instead, a pair of the new limited edition 'Classic Leopard print Foldable Sunglasses' worth £19. I honestly think these are ridiculously cool. They're not something I'd buy myself because I already have sunglasses that I love but c'mon, they fold five times into this little wedge of sunglasses. I think these would be so useful for festivals, backpacking holidays, any time when space is going to be an issue and you might not want to take your expensive pair of sunglasses but still want your eyes protected. Hello UV protection 400.

So all in all, I got £87 worth of jewellery plus P&P for £39 and I'm still on the fence about it. Fancy signing up for the Secret Box subscription? You have two days left to get the June box here!

What do you think of this quarters box?

Friday, 6 June 2014

Fiction Friday: Top 5 Summer Fiction Essentials!

Certain times of year make certain books more appealing. The Harry Potters, for example, are great Christmas books. Bridget Jones is perfect to read in the New Year. But Summer is unfortunately here and I have my top 5 Summer Fictional Essentials to share with you today!

Somebody came to say Hi while I was taking pictures!





World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

I've read this every summer for... years. Thus it is in a rather rough shape and has stickers from French supermarkets stuck in the back. In fact, when I announced my Fiction Friday series it was World War Z in the picture! A 'factual' history of the zombie war written in interview style with it's noted survivors, this is one of my favourite books and I have a review and comparison with the movie coming soon. 



Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn and Pia Guerra
Y: The Last Man is the story of the last man on earth after every person and animal apart from Yorick and his pet monkey with a Y chromosome dies. It is... The best comic book ever. I love these books. I think Brian K Vaughn is a genius (he wrote a few episodes of Lost, and he's currently working on Saga) I watched an interview with him as part of my Gender through Comic Books course and he is as brilliant as his work suggests. 
I've also had the honour of meeting Pia Guerra and she is absolutely lovely. My signed and sketched books by her are definitely what I would save if my house was on fire. She is, in my opinion, the best artist in a very male dominated industry. But enough raving. Read it.



The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Can any book be more comforting than The Hobbit? Does anyone not just relax at the opening line; "In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”? On those hot summer nights when the fan is blasting and I can't sleep because I feel like I'm in hell- The Hobbit is the book I reach for. And I'm looking to read of the Lord of the Rings series this Autumn so I want to re-read this first!



A Shore Thing and Gorilla Beach by Nicole Polizzi
In summer, at the beach or by the pool or just lay out in the back garden is there anything better than a bit of easy reading chick-lit? These books follow two cousins who summer down at the Jersey Shore and get themselves into all kinds of trouble. They're fun, well written and I love Snooki.



Orange is the New Black Season 2

It's back! Finally. After a dramatic finale of Season 1 I, like many others, waited impatiently for season 2 and it is back. With 13 episodes at an hour long each I'll probably be done with this season by tomorrow but even so I'm so excited! Orange is the New Black is the Netflix Original show based on Piper Kerman's memoir which I really need to pick up. Funny, dramatic and a female based cast? One of the best shows I've watched in a long time.

What are your Summer Reading Essentials?

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Top 5 Summer Essentials

Summer has hit the North. The Starks lied. Even though I did have to delay taking these pictures outside because it was raining, the temperature has definitely risen and the sun is showing itself for longer everyday. So I thought I would share my top 5 Summer essentials that I can't do without when this season rolls around.

I saw this little guy collecting pollen when I was out taking pictures and had to take a snap of him!




#1. Nike running shorts.
I'm not a runner but these shorts are super breathable, light, and they have a pocket for my phone so when I'm bopping around my house to awful songs from ten years ago- just listen- I'm not going to melt or be embarrassed if the postman pops round. I have more pairs than would fit in the picture but these are calling to be added to my collection. I also love wearing them out over tight camisoles, similar to Snooki!



#2. Sunglasses.
I don't know about you but the brightness outside hurts my eyes! And I don't want wrinkles from squinting so sunglasses are an essential. After years of cheap and flimsy pairs from various high street stores, I invested in a pair from Tiffany at an airport that have a really classic shape and feel durable. I love them, they'll last for years and it makes me wear them more often!



#3. Lighter perfume.
Summer makes me put away my many bottles of the original Stella and pull out my beautiful bottle of LILY by Stella McCartney. This lighter floral fragrance is a great summer alternative that makes me think of outside and sunshine and holidays, and that bottle!



#4. The prettiest bright or pastel nail polishes I can find.
In summer I really love either pastels or brights for my nails, and I tend to switch it up between them every time I paint them. Both look great and my darks lay forgotten for the next few months. I also find myself doing more nail art so keep an eye out for posts on that in the coming months.
Have a read of my mint nail polish post where I battle it out to find the best!



#5. SPF.
If you don't wear SPF you're putting yourself at risk. If you would put a seatbelt on when you go for a drive, put SPF on before you go outside. My favourites are; Hawaiian Tropic, a light non-sticky formula that smells really nice and has great protection for a reasonable price. For my face this sample of Apivita Face Cream SPF 50+* that I got at the Fabb event in Manchester has lasted me forever and I'm definitely ordering a bigger bottle this year, non-greasy again and my make-up goes on over it no problem. For days when I'm only popping outside for a minute or two, I like the Palmers SPF 15 to protect me and eliminate the need for layers of moisturiser and SPF.

My post on my Summer fictional essentials will be up on Friday!

What are your Summer Essentials?

*I received this sample at the Fabb event in Manchester. I am not obligated to talk about it on my blog.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

The Battle of the Mint Nail Polishes!

I actually didn’t know that I had so many mint coloured polishes, I originally was going to do a comparison of MUA and Essie as they are widely regarded as dupes, but instead this turned into a battle of the mint coloured polishes. I love my battles!



Essie - ‘Mint Candy Apple’
This was two coats and it has a great thick brush good quality brush that the MUA polish falls short on. But it is a little streaky and goes on oddly. I can see why it's so popular though because the colour is gorgeous for spring/summer.
However, it is way more expensive then the MUA colour at a pretty eye-watering price of £7.99 and Essie don’t appear to be cruelty free so I can’t, in good conscience, recommend this.


MUA - ‘Pistachio Ice Cream’
This is 3 coats of a okay polish with a bit of a rubbish cheap brush that was a bit too thin. This was the only one that chipped with and without top coat within the three days I wore my little ombre look. But £1 and cruelty free! If you want Mint Candy Apple- just get this, it's only the tiniest bit lighter!

Revlon - ‘Minted’
Another disappointment which was surprising because Revlon do so many things well- and recently pulled out of China so yay, no animal testing. I did 2 coats and it is thick and opaque but it bubbles. Oh boy does it bubble. No matter if I shake, roll, leave the bottle for days, anything- it bubbles and takes an age to dry. It also cracks weirdly at the corners or any place my natural nail might bend throughout the day unlike any other nail polish I've ever tried. It is the only ‘true’ mint I have as well but BarryM have something similar that I might try next.

China Glaze - ‘For Audrey’
I went with 3 coats to even this one out as it was quite thin but this helped it dry faster. 
It comes at a much nicer price tag and brush than the next guy! I really need more China Glaze in my life, they seem to be a really great brand.

Nails Inc - ‘Haymarket’
Here we have another 2 coats of streak. This one is slightly greener than For Audrey but to the extent of one stalk of grass being greener than the one next to it. If you're looking for that Tiffany blue then give this a miss and go straight to China Glaze.



Overall it seems like mint polishes are very hard to do right! The MUA one was far more than you expect for £1, a good dupe for the Essie polish but more liable to chip, so save the extra seven quid if you have time to change your nail polish more often. Revlon bubbles on me every time which is a shame because the colour is gorgeous- a true mint green. China Glaze and Nails Inc offerings were both thin and they moved around if you went over where you already painted on the first coat but the colour- a dead dupe for Tiffany jewellery boxes and I slightly prefer China Glaze. 


Have you tried any of these polishes? What did you think?

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