Sunday, 29 March 2015

Loving Lately: Matte Glitter!

The sun is shining, the birds are singing, even the bees are buzzing and last week I discovered a new nail look that I love. A matte top coat on top of glitter nail polish. Revolutionary! Well, maybe not for the world at large, but it is for me.



Putting a matte topcoat over the glitter was just a way to pass the boredom and frustration of writers block but it's actually super pretty. Plus, it tones down the whole glitter polish look just enough that it's not so in your face. It's a new favourite for me, especially with Models Own Emerald City glitter and China Glazes Matte Magic!

What do you think of matte glitter nails?

Friday, 27 March 2015

Book Review: The Glam Guide by Fleur De Force!

I was pretty excited when I found out that Fleur was writing a book. I've been subscribed to her on YouTube for years and years, and hers was one of the first blogs I ever found, eventually leading to me starting my own. This book is split into seven main sections so I'm going to split my review up as such. Lets get to it!



Beauty

The beauty section is one of the parts I was most excited for, I don't know quite what I expected but I definitely didn't expect the basic information there was, nothing you couldn't find in a quick google. If you're hoping for comprehensive beauty tips, I'd look into the Bobbi Brown make up books- they're great. If you're a beginner than this is a good place to start.

Hair

Pretty short section at 20 pages and again nothing new. You get some hairstyles, some DIY masks and some colouring tips. I did my usual sticky note way of reading (I swear my post on this will be up soon) and this section had none. 

Fashion 

The fashion section was interesting, mainly because it's not something I know a lot about like the beauty and hair section. It's made me rethink my packed wardrobe and want to do a bit of a revamp once I have some extra cash. I really liked that it wasn't just OOTDs and had actual recommendations of how to put outfits together. The tips are simple but classic and something I think anyone could do with being reminded of. 

Travel

I love travel, I love reading peoples experiences, favourite places, travel tips, everything. I just wish this section was longer! At a meagre 18 pages, it was over as quickly as it began. There's a packing page, a page on travelling in style (nothing is going to make me give up travelling in sweatpants), a couple of pages on in flight beauty and a couple of pages on jet lag. I just wanted more.

Health and Fitness

I really don't have much to say on this section. Health and Fitness is so personal from person to person I think it's a tricky subject to cover. I will say I think the recipes were unnecessary for anyone with Pinterest but the Fitness Shortcuts were interesting. If you're a relatively healthy person who wants to start exercising then go for it.

Life, Love, Dreams and everything in between

This! This was what I wanted and hoped for. Tips on self-confidence, body image, positive thinking and life goals. All were subjects dealt with class and honest to god helpfulness. I especially loved the section on admiring achievements, not criticising other women based on looks. As someone who went to an all-girls school, this was a mindset I really had to work on as I grew up because we're all so conditioned to be horrible to other women. I hope the people reading this book really take it to heart.

YouTube and Blogging

As a blogger, I was excited for this section but it was definitely aimed more at YouTubers which I understand. Fleur is primarily a YouTuber. If I ever start a YouTube channel, I'll probably refer back to this.

Overall, I didn't hate this book but I also didn't love it. I think the artwork and design was spot on and what was there, was good. It had some really great bits that just needed expanding- especially for the asking price of £14.99! Even for the £7.49 price on Amazon. I understand that as a content creator, it's sometimes hard to come up with things that are fresh and new, and that's why I think the book could've done with more about Fleur. My favourite of these types of books is actually Jennifer Farley's (Jwoww from Jersey Shore) as so much of her personality and culture is in it. I would've loved that from this book.


What do you think? Have you / are you going to read The Glam Guide?

*I was sent this book for review. This hasn't changed my opinion

Monday, 23 March 2015

Big Book Fear!

Am I the only one that looks at a big book as if it could bite me? I have some monsters on my shelf that if they fell, could probably crush me, but that's not quite why I'm afraid of them. I'm afraid of big books because when you open it to the front page, you're making a time commitment that depending on your policy on giving up on books, can mean you'll be reading a book for a long time and maybe won't even get that much out of it.



So I have big book fear and I know I'm not alone in this. Anything 400+ pages is often shifted out of the way for something shorter. Sometimes for series that all together are 1000 pages. I'm the same with TV and movies. I'll start a TV show and marathon it all day but a movie? Eh, I rarely watch them and I hate going to the cinema because I can't pause and take a break.

So where does this fear come from? Maybe it's that the two big books I tried to read last year were not to my tastes. Maybe it's the pressure to read as many books as quick as I can. Maybe it's because I want my monthly wrap ups to have more than one or two books. Who knows. But I read a 660 page book in January so I'm working on the fear. My reading goals for 2015 included reading less books (Already at 18, my goal was 15, oops!) and to read a book over 500 pages. I now add that I want to read at least a couple of books over 400 pages. I will conquer my big book fear!

Do you have big book fear?

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Picture the Poet & Meeting Benjamin Zephaniah!

It's World Poetry Day! And yesterday I went to a poetry event at the Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston where my favourite poet, Benjamin Zephaniah, would be performing some poetry along with a local poetry group and several other poets. This was my first performance poetry event and it wasn't half bad!



Ever since I was a kid and nicked my brothers copy of Talking Turkeys, I've loved Zephaniah's work. I even have a cassette tape of his poems and it was the first poetry that really sunk in and affected me- literally, the poem Talking Turkeys was one of the reasons I became a vegetarian. So when I knew he was going to be there performing, I had to go.



I was lucky enough to exchange a few words with Benjamin at the interval about poetry, writing and how much I love his books. Being a total dork, I asked if he would sign my beaten and battered book of poetry and he was kind enough to sign all five of the books I brought. Including four of the novels that I've never read in order of publication- but clearly need to as there is a bit of an easter egg where characters show up in the next book! Now I'm just waiting by the door for the new book I ordered; Terror Kid.



I'll admit, much to the embarrassment of my mother, poetry really isn't something I actively seek out in my reading. I gravitate to prose and when it comes to writing it- I'm never pleased. But seeing him, and the other poets perform has shown me a side of poetry that isn't school anthologies. The rhythm, the syntax and just the life in the performance is completely new. I'm actually looking forward to my Art of Poetry module a little more now.

Picture the Poet is a touring exhibition by the National Portrait Gallery that is in Preston until the 11th of April. The event had been organised by Apples and Snakes, so if poetry is something you're into then it might be something to look into!


They say never meet your heroes- I say, if one of your heroes is Benjamin Zephaniah then go for it. Anyway, enough gushing, I have books to re-read in a new order. Happy World Poetry day everybody!

Have you ever been to a performance poetry event?

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Bookmarked #1

Bookmarks are one of the greatest things about the internet in my opinion, the idea that you can really easily save a page to look at later or show to somebody else is amazing. Imagine a life without bookmarks on the internet. Horrifying, right? You'd have to copy and paste URLs into a Word document to save later or something equally monotonous. Plus, I'm a little nosy when it comes to other peoples bookmarks so I thought I would show off some of mine!




Someone made the Friends apartments on Sims! I'm so impressed with this one, it puts my Sims skills to shame.

Also impressive- A Hobbit Hole trailer. I can't even imagine the amount of intelligence that went into making that, I can barely make heads or tails of the captions but oh I want one.

A really interesting list of 100 books by the BBC that the average person has apparently only read 6 of. I'm at 14, what are you at?

I Write Like is a website where you can paste in some of your writing and see which author you write like. How accurate it is could be debated, although I can live with being told I write like Raymond Chandler.

And lastly, I'm currently writing this to the sound of the Ravenclaw Common Room with this Harry Potter Ambient Sounds Mixer. Rather relax in the Shire? Got you covered. They also have Game of Thrones, a couple of the Avengers, Star Wars, Supernatural, and a bunch of others. Go forth and relax!

Do you like Bookmark posts? Leave me links to something in your bookmarks!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Books I Read in February!

I know, I know, I'm super late in getting this post up. I've been quite poorly lately and have barely been doing much of anything, let alone blogging. But I had a good reading month in February and wanted to share!
My logic for picking books to read in February was flawless- I picked up the Uglies trilogy and after finishing that decided to read books with the odd rubbery covers that remind me of Nars makeup. See? Flawless thinking on my part. I ended up spending a lot time on The Fifteen Lives of Harry August but that got paused, so I'm pretty happy with how much I finished considering.



Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
I posted a full review and discussion of this series here!


Pretties by Scott Westerfeld


Specials by Scott Westerfeld


The Vortex by Noël Coward
I'm currently working on making my characters speak in my degree and since they had me writing some screenplay I decided to do a little extra reading and pull out my little Noël Coward collection.
I love the dialogue in his work, but for this one- one of his earlier works from 1920, the plot didn't quite fit for me. I wouldn't have known quite what was going on if I hadn't read the forward I don't think. It was still worth reading though. Nobody writes British wit quite like Noël Coward in my opinion.


Private Lives by Noël Coward
My favourite of Noël Cowards work, I saw this in Manchester a couple of years ago and found it absolutely hilarious. Two exes find each other in a hotel while on their honeymoon with their new spouses. Reading it was a pleasure, the story is funny and the characters are well developed. They aren't particularly likeable but you end up liking them anyway. Or at least liking that you dislike them.


Blithe Spirit by Noël Coward
A very close second for my favourite, I found myself laughing out loud more than once as I read. In this story a writer accidentally brings back the ghost of his dead wife, much to the distaste of his current wife. You can't beat that. The work up to the ending is flawless, especially when you consider that Coward wrote this in five days in 1941 during the war. I wish I could see this performed.


The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton
I hauled the Miniaturist here and it took me a while to get round to it because I'm not much of a historical fiction reader. But I was looking through old reviews on my blog and found this one of The Crimson Ribbon by Katherine Clements. These two books are only set 40 years apart so I thought that along with it having a rubbery cover, that it would be a good way to explore the historical fiction genre comfortably. 
This book is pretty much the definition of a slow burn, it took me a good amount of time to read even though it's not a huge book. It was calm for a long time then so much drama, the hits just kept on coming over and over. This book deals with a lot of things; racism, homophobia, sexism, and just that times values in Amsterdam which was fascinating as I love that city but boy does it have a past.
I feel like this book was made for a re-read. There's so much detail and foreshadowing that I think would be amazing the second round when you know what is going on and how the story ends.

Have you read any of these books? What did you read this month?

*Amazon links are affiliate links, if you buy a book from them I get a tiny percentage without any cost to you. Neat, huh?

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Sheila O'Flanagan: Top 5 Holiday Reads!

Today I have a very exciting post for you! Sheila O'Flanagan, the author of If You Were Me, has written a list of her top 5 holiday reads. For me, reading on holiday is the best reading you can do- there's no internet, no distractions, it's just relaxing entertainment and I've written two posts; here and here about my choices for holiday books so I thought it would be interesting to see Sheila's. So here we go!

I like a mixture of genres when I go on holiday. I always pack at least one light book, and something humorous because its nice to chuckle on the sunbed. I also enjoy a thriller, as well as a historical read, either fiction or non-fiction. Hopefully youll find this a nice summer mixture of light and a little more challenging:

I love Ciara Geraghtys writing and the fact that all her books are quite different from each other. This one is a love story but its more about finding yourself again. Part of it is written from a male point of view and its brilliantly done. Saying something is funny and poignant is a bit of a cliché but its definitely true about this lovely book and its my top choice for summer reading this year!

I really enjoyed both of these novels when they were first published. They shed a different light on the Tudor court of Henry VIII and some of the most memorable characters in English history. Even though the TV series was really good (if a bit dark indoors!) nothing compares to the books.

The Jack Reacher series is my go-to series for a thriller with an iconic hero whos always a match for the bad guys. Sometimes a series with the same character can get a little stale but one of the ways Child manages to keep Reacher interesting is by not being chronological with all of the novels and occasionally going back to a previous time in Reachers life. This one takes us back to his time in the US army and his investigation into the sudden death of a General.

Sophie is one of the funniest writers around. I prefer her stand alone novels to the Shopaholic series and I think my favourite of her books was Ive Got Your Number which was laugh-out-loud hilarious. Finding Audrey is a YA novel about a girl with Social Anxiety Disorder and it sounds just as good as Sophies adult novels so has to be worth a read.

Confessions by Jaume Cabré
This is a 750 page novel translated from Catalan and you need a nice stretch of free time to read it. Its about a man who begins to examine his familys past after the death of his father. In fact its the story of Europe from the Inquisition to Auschwitz but it was the opening line that made me buy it: It wasnt until last night, walking along the wet streets of Vallarca, that I finally comprehended that being born into my family had been an unforgivable mistake. Who hasnt thought that at some point!!!

Thank you to Sheila for sharing her top 5 holiday reads. My book wishlist has definitely grown! 
What are your holiday reads?

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Beauty Review: KIKO Cupcake Nail Lacquer in Mint

It's Lent at the moment and despite not being religious, I've given up chocolate so I obviously have show off my most Easter Egg-y nail polish. This makes my nails look like a Mini Egg (my favourite chocolate of all time that I'm craving so bad right now) and I love it.



655 - Cupcake Nail Lacquer in Mint
I'm not generally a fan of textured nail polishes, but this one is slightly different with the gritty bits being different colours to look like sprinkles! This is a super easy polish to use, I just needed to put on three coats and it dried so quick it took no time at all and didn't need a topcoat. Getting it off wasn't as hard as you'd think either, sure it's no plain polish but it wasn't as bad as glitter. 

What do you think of textured nail polishes?

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Series Review: The Uglies Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld!

I was going to say that I was late on the bandwagon to read this series but considering that Uglies was published in 2005, 10 years ago, I'm going to go with- So I completely missed the bandwagon when it comes to the Uglies/ Pretties/ Specials books but I have a couple friends who love them. In fact, when I hauled the books I got several texts telling me to read them immediately. My reviews in this post for the second and third book contain slight spoilers for the previous book, be warned. So here we go!



Uglies
This is a really strong start to the series, the world is set up easily and the story is fast-paced with our main character, Tally, denied the 'pretty' surgery until she goes and fetches her friend Shay from outside the city. There's a lot of dilemmas in this that are a more dramatic version of what happens to teenagers. It's a lot of high school drama but on a different scale which I loved, a lot of it is familiar as things most people go through at that age- friend loyalty, a relationship getting in the way, standing up to authority.
I wasn't much of a fan of the writing, it wasn't bad by any means, but it didn't really impress me although I have to mention Scott Westerfelds great use of imagery. The sky is the colour of cat vomit and the squeaking of shoes is like a herd of panicked mice was amazing.
Overall though, this book really impressed me, I can see why my friends loved it.

Pretties
Again, the writing was nothing special; more great imagery, and a few really poignant moments but pretty simplistic throughout. It reflects the intended audience. The story was as strong as the first but despite a similar plot line, it wasn't tired. A pretty strong second book, I can say with almost certainty that if you liked Uglies then you'll like Pretties. I marathoned right through these books quite happily.

Specials
What I really admire about this series is that it shows most of the point of views of the world within one character. In Specials Tally is, you guessed it, a Special. The only point of view not covered is the older pretties and the little kids, so it shows the problem with this dystopian world, and all it's problems, from almost every side unlike others. The writing evolves on a little but not by much. And we finally get an answer for the love triangle, admittedly one that I hated but still.

Spoilers! Beware!
I want to talk about a couple of things here.
I really didn't get the whole ego thing. Maybe that says something bad about me but it didn't seem like Tally had much of an ego as Shay kept saying, as much as bad things kept happening to her and she did the best she could in the situation she was in. Does anyone else feel this way or?
Shay, oh my god. I loved her at the beginning of the first book because she challenged Tally's ideas about the whole pretty society and was the voice of reason- but it really went downhill from there to the point where she became the villain to me. Dr Cable and the society were the obvious villains but Shay was something worse- a really poisonous 'friend'.
Zane, just- Wah!
I do worry about a negative effect, there's really nothing in these books that says- hey, some people get plastic surgery and really, that's okay too. The whole pretty-head thing could be seriously skewed.

Maybe the fourth book will clear up a few of these things for me. I'm really glad I read this trilogy though and it really made me think about the nature of beauty, plastic surgery, and what is important. In the words of my physiotherapist; 'Everyone is weird looking as a teen.' I wish I had read these when I was younger but even now at twenty-one, these books made an impact. The whole collection is £6.99 on The Book People here!

Have you read the Uglies Trilogy? What did you think?

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