Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Beauty Review: Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel!

So I've had this in my 'review box' for way too long. I actually had the Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Organic Formula Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel Patented Two-Step Anti-Aging Treatment* (try saying that ten times fast) for a year? But honestly, I was a little scared to try it. Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Organic Formula Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel Patented Two-Step Anti-Aging Treatment is a very intimidating name. But I finally woman'd up and tried it, and the results? Well..

Beauty Review: Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel




Review Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel


I'll start by talking about the application which it was pretty simple. Each sachet had a square face wipe to apply in circular motions. I opened step one, followed the instructions and it tingled but wasn't uncomfortable. It stung as I went over my forehead for the second time but compared to some other face peel type products I've tried that burnt, it was fine. I waited two minutes, then went over with step two that seemed to be more cleansing. It had that kind of foaming feel some face wipes have so I presumed this was to neutralise step one. As instructed, I didn't rinse and waited about half an hour before slapping on some moisturiser.

So what about the results? Well, my skin feels smoother. Thanks to my oil cleansing routine and just having alright skin in general I wouldn't say I had many complaints but the smoothness and brightening effect this has had is impressive. My skin is taking on moisturiser and other products really well and for the first time in a long time, when I put on foundation- my nose didn't have that flakey look I hate.

But the million dollar question is- would I buy? Right now, no. I'm a poor university student and at £22.95 for 10, I just can't afford it. But it is going on my wishlist for when I- ya'know, have a job. The results for sitting and rubbing my face while watching Netflix was incredible and I can see these being really effective used over a couple of months.

Have you ever tried the Dr Dennis Gross Skincare Organic Formula Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel Patented Two-Step Anti-Aging Treatment? Would you?

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*I received this in a goody bag at a bloggers event. Link is an affiliate link which means if you buy them, I get a tiny bit of money at no extra cost to you!

Friday, 24 April 2015

Books I Read in.. Northumberland!

Last Friday I showed you the twenty books I took with me to Northumberland, today I'm going to show you the five that I read. I think a quarter is a success? I read 1406 pages in a week and that feels like a success to me. Either way, I decided to do a round-up of the five books I read while I was away rather than wait for the end of the month, last months round up was maybe a bit too long.

Book pile Jeffery Deaver Charlaine Harris Susan Hill Meg Cabot


The Bodies Left Behind by Jeffery Deaver
I haven't read a Jeffery Deaver book in at least a couple years despite owning a whole bunch of his books and flying through them as a teen so I picked this one-shot off my shelf that I only vaguely remembered to get me back in the swing of reading his books. 
Unfortunately, I picked one that really wasn't one of Deavers best. It's the story of a small town cop who stumbles into a hot mess in the middle of nowhere and 3/4 of the book is her and another woman traipsing through a national park with two murderers after them. Don't get me wrong, this was an alright book and the twists and turns kept going right up to the last page but I think Deaver excels at writing more competent detectives with specific skill sets (Lincoln Rhyme and Katherine Dance are amazing characters) so this wasn't my favourite by far. You will notice I gave it three stars. I just expect so much more from Deaver that even an average book is a disappointment. I need to read another of his books soon to get over this.


The Julius House by Charlaine Harris
The Julius house is the house in Aurora's town where, six years ago, the family of three went missing. Well, now Aurora owns that house and she feels like doing some detective work to find out the history and maybe where these three people ended up. Realistically, she needs to get herself a job, I don't think unemployed life is for her but for the purpose of story I'll let it go. Not to mention that her new husband is a little sketchy. It took maybe 100 pages before anything really- happened, the action was very delayed. Even though it did sort itself out and all the loose ends were tied up, this is probably the weakest book so far in the series. I love it and I love Charlaine Harris's writing enough to still give four stars though. Aurora is a lovely character, I just wish the spacing of the action was more spread out throughout the book.
I now want the next book but I've just bought a couple six books so this is going to have to wait. Wah!


The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
I'm going to see the play of The Woman in Black at the beginning of May, so I wanted to read the book before I saw it. Honestly, the story is pretty basic- creepy woman in black in a creepy area doing creepy things. But even with the potential of the setting; an island that is only accessible when the tide is down- there is actually a castle like this in Northumberland that I visited while I was away-  and the potential in how wasted away and creepy the woman looked, this just did nothing for me.
A flaw I often find in my writing is run-on sentences when I should put in a goshdang full stop. That is a flaw that is painfully evident in this book. For example; "In spite of my intense fear and sense of shock, I was consumed with the desire to find out exactly who it was that I had seen, and how, I could not rest until I had settled the business, for all that, while out there, had not dared to stay and make any investigations." I love a good sentence but they need to make sense. I don't want to have to stop, stare and try and destruct its meaning for a good five minutes instead of reading on with the story.


The Princess Diaries: Give Me Five by Meg Cabot
This book begins after a bit of a time skip and the characters seem a little more grown up than in previous books. Mia is turning 15. In fact there is a chapter set at her birthday party where they play 7 minutes in heaven that absolutely scandalised me as a child! But basically the big deal of this book is Mia wanting to go to prom, which ya'know, to each their own on what they find important. But as someone who left their prom after an hour to go home and watch movies with my BFF, I was a little confused about why it was so important. All the while her Grandmere is causing a New York incident. It wasn't my favourite of the books, but I continue to read and enjoy them.


The Princess Diaries: Sixsational by Meg Cabot
Points for the mention of The Princess Diaries movie that I adore. 
This is the first book where Mia's boyfriend is off at college and, of course, that brings about it's own set of problems. Like a cheerleader telling you he's going to expect sex. It's honestly dealt with in a very mature way- eventually, after some teenage freak out- and I think I'd be down with my possible future children reading this. The school nurse is my hero. I also liked the fact that Mia's teacher is judging her for what she enjoys and Mia's reaction; "Does something have to be complicated and hard to understand to be culture?" I happen to have similar thoughts on this so it was neat to read.
I bought the last four books off an independent seller on Ebay so I'm looking forward for those to come so I can finally finish this series.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?


Friday, 17 April 2015

Books I Took to Northumberland!

It's a well known fact that I overpack books when I go on holiday. I've gone away with sixteen books, and even nineteen books. This holiday I outdid myself and took twenty! However, it was Northumberland and we drove so it wasn't like I had a weight limit. Even so I was pretty determined to make a dent in the piles I took and I read five/twenty over the week. I'll be doing a round-up of those five on Monday so look out for that!

Large pile of books


The Bodies Left Behind by Jeffery Deaver
I'm a big fan of Jeffery Deaver but I haven't read any of his books in a while and I don't feel like starting another series since I have so many unfinished at the moment. So! I picked up one of his one-shot books that I remember reading when I was younger. It's a little different from his usual books but more about that on my post on Monday!

True Fire by Gary Meehan*
Gary Meehan is actually from my town! Despite this, I still haven't read this book yet after winning it from Goodreads last year. I keep meaning to and I really like the premise but again, I'm hesitant to start another series since I have so many on the go at the moment- I may or may to have just started the Sookie Stackhouse books. Maybe this will be the next series I start once I finish some up.

The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice**
I don't know much about this book apart from that it's set in the 1950's, has ah-mazing reviews and a forward by my idol- Miranda Hart. And it's a one-shot so no series guilt for me!

Kitty Raises Hell, Kitty's House of Horrors and Kitty Goes to War by Carrie Vaughn
I love the Kitty Norville books but I haven't read one since November and I thought if I took three then I might be more inclined to pick them up. It didn't work but it seemed like a solid theory at the time!

The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
I'm not one for scary movies, in fact I avoid them apart from the ones I watch with my friend when we play who can pick the worst horror movie. But my cousin told me to watch Woman in Black, it was on Netflix when I first got it and it had Daniel Radcliffe in who I think is a great actor. I watched it, it scared the bejeezus out of me, and I loved it. On top of them, I'm going to see the play soon so I wanted to read the book before I did.

Extras by Scott Westerfeld
I read and reviewed the Uglies Trilogy back in February after hauling all four books way back in November. But I haven't read Extras yet, the add-on book. I just don't have the inclination but it bothers me seeing the trilogy on my 'read' shelf and this on my 'to-read' pile.

The Julius House by Charlaine Harris
I love this series and I love Charlaine Harris's writing. This in the fourth book and I actually got it for Christmas but seeing as I'm on a book buying ban of sorts, I didn't want to read it and immediately want the next book. But I did. And I do. Dang!

The Princess Diaries: Give Me Five and Sixational by Meg Cabot
I picked up the fourth book of the Princess Diaries series last month and decided to just keep reading. Both of these got read and I may or may not have bought the last four books from an independent seller on Ebay- all within my book buying ban perimeters of course.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
I can't remember what teen book I read at about twelve where the protagonist was reading this but it has literally stuck with me for about ten years. I want to read this because I love the classics I read last year and this sounds right up my street, but I'm also dying to remember the book that led me to this. Anyone know?

Mr Jack Nobody by Trevor John Towers**
This was sent to me recently and it sounds great so I brought it along since I had some space left, I didn't get around to it but it's top priority so expect to see this soonish.

Watership Down by Richard Adams
"It's a good book. It's about bunnies." I've been showing a couple of my friends Lost since they never watched it and that is appalling to me. And Watership Down is an important book both as a physical object- it gets talked about a lot and causes a lot of tension, and as a foreshadowing type of thing. I need to read this soon.

Gone by Michael Grant
This is the first book in the Gone series, my best friends favourite series, and after starting it on Playster I pulled out the copy I bought this time last year in a English book store in Florence. I'm actually currently reading this at the moment and I'm a bit- eh.

Gutenberg's Apprentice by Alix Christie**
Another book I've been sent that I really probably should've read by now. It sounds so so interesting but I'm a mood reader and I just haven't felt like this kind of book lately. Soon! Soon or bust!

George VI by Sarah Bradford
I love George VI and this is a full biography of his life that I got last christmas after watching The Kings Speech- an amazing movie. I'm not much of a non-fiction reader but I want to start adding some in with all the fiction I'm reading.

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr.
I have to read this for my degree and I was thinking I'd sit down and read it cover-to-cover rather than dip in and out like I have been doing.

Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof*
Set in a small English town, this seemed like the kind of book to take on a trip to Northumberland. I did actually pick this up while I was away and read a good 50 pages but it just wasn't for me at that time. Maybe later this year I'll pick it up again.

A Song of Shadows by John Connolly**
We all know I love the Chronicles of the Invaders series that John Connolly writes with Jennie Ridyard so I was pretty excited to receive one of his solo books, a detective mystery that I'm really looking forward to. It's quite far on in the series but I'm hoping I can pick it up without reading any of the past books.

Phew! Lot of books! Am I the only one who overpacks books?


*I won these books on Goodreads!
**I was sent these books for review! This doesn't change my opinion.
Amazon links are affiliate links.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Website Review: Playster!

I don't have a local library, so whenever I hear people reply to; 'I wish there was a Netflix for books' with 'There is, it's called the library' I'm forever unimpressed. Not only that- Netflix is online. You've basically just compared Netflix to Blockbuster. Not that I don't love libraries, I just don't have one. So when I was approached about Playster, I finally found a Netflix alternative for books.



So let's start by explaining what exactly Playster is. Playster is a website, currently being developed in Beta, that has a wide selection of books, movies, music and games that members can view online. You can try it out with a free trial month, so you can access their selection and see if they have anything that interests you, and membership costs £5.50 a month after that. I'm going to focus on the book section in this review.



I had a good browse and found some really interesting books in the selection. They have the entire Georgia Nicoleson series by Louise Rennison I read last year (my review is here). The entire Gone series by Michael Grant that I'm currently reading and is my best friends favourite series. The Lauren Conrad books I see all the time on blogs. And the Eve series by Anna Carey I've been eying for a while.

Unfortunately finding the books isn't easy, there's a search if you know what you're looking for and vague genres- Mystery, Classics, YA, Fantasy, Non-Fiction, etc. but browsing could do with some streamlining. There is a 'because you read' recommendation feature but the accuracy leaves a little to be desired. Hopefully this will be more sophisticated in time because reading a YA book about adults disappearing doesn't really correlate to an interest in American Sniper in my opinion!



It has a 'My Library' function where you can collect up books, movies, music, and games you want to save for later. A handy function, especially when going from computer to phone or tablet. These are a few of my top choices.

Overall, I think Playster has a lot of potential and once the app comes out, they sort out an offline way of reading and they have a few more deals with more publishers, I can see it becoming a thing. Obviously this isn't Kindle Unlimited, but it's very reasonably priced with a free month and £2.49 cheaper. So if you read a good amount and have an interest in a lot of the books on there, you could save a fair bit and buy yourself a fancy coffee to drink while you read.
You can check out Playster here!
Would you be interested in a site like Playster?


*Playster sponsored this review and kindly let me check out Playster for free. This hasn't changed my opinion and I'm honest as always.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

5 Things I Love about Netflix!

I've talked about Netflix before on my blog here so it probably comes as no surprise that I really love the website. Subscribing was one of the best things I did as far as entertainment so today I'm going to share my top 5 things I love about Netflix!



1. Watching old shows for nostalgia.
Charmed, Pokêmon, Buffy, there's a bunch of shows on Netflix that I used to watch when I was a kid but the thing is that I never regularly watched them enough to get the overarching storyline- so now I can! I think you get a lot more out of shows when you watch them in order.

2. The app.
I watch a lot of TV when I'm doing menial tasks. If I'm tidying or cleaning, I like having something I can glance at every now and again and listen to so I don't get super bored. If I'm editing pictures for the blog or something else that requires the entire screen of my laptop, then my phone is right next to me keeping me entertained.

3. Original series.
Has anyone not watched Orange is the New Black at this point? If not, you're missing out. It has one of the best diverse female-led cast I've ever seen. House of Cards, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, BoJack Horseman, season 4 of Arrested Development and The Killing. And of course, they show no signs of slowing down. Personally I'm really excited to see what they do with the Marvel Universe when it comes to Daredevil and AKA Jessica Jones.

4. The price and quality.
Yes, you can find pretty much any show online for free. But the quality is straight up awful. £5.99 a month is, for me, worth not having to find decent links and figure out who that blur is. I honestly can't remember the last time I watched TV on my actual TV either so when I have my own place I'd rather just have Netflix.

5. Movie nights.
Having friends in different countries is really hard and sometimes you just wish you could hang out together and watch a movie. Well, it's not like Netflix is a free teleportation device but with Skype it makes a passable version. You can't share popcorn but you can share laughs, tears, and jump scares!

Do you love Netflix like I do?

Friday, 3 April 2015

Books I Read in March!

Despite the teetering pile I present to you, I actually had a very slow beginning of the month reading-wise. Ready Player One took over that time and it wasn't until I finished it that my pace began to speed up. The Spiderwick Chronicles books took 4 days and I flew through The Walled City. I think the reading part of my brain was glad Spring had arrived. For however long that lasted. Sit down, get a cuppa, this is a long one!




The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book One; The Field Guide by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
This is a really fun introduction to this series; you meet the characters, you see the house, you start to see the wonders and scares of this world. The whole series doesn't shy away from being just that little bit scary, but it has enough humour and family and great storytelling to make it a perfect kids book. It also has a lovely bit where a character who isn't really a 'reader', loves to stay up late reading when he finds a book that interests him. I loved it. The same character is dealing with anger issues; "he knew what it was like to be mad, and he knew how easy it was to get into a fight, even if you were really mad at someone else." It really stood out to me as a great message, and these books could be used to open some pretty tricky conversations with kids. Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black have written a great first book. 


The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book Two; The Seeing Stone by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
In this book we meet new creatures like goblins, a hobgoblin and a griffin. And there's even more Thimbletack from the first book who speaks only in rhyme which is adorable. My favourite had to be; "A human boy is like a snake. His promises are easy to break." Thimbletack speaks the truth!
The books go from strength to strength, this one focuses more on external threats. Mallory, who is one of my favourite female fictional characters, she makes me want to start fencing, comes to the defence of her brothers despite them not getting along much. The family dynamic of siblings is spot on, as is the story.


The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book Three; Lucinda's Secret by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

The gang go to visit Lucinda, the 'mad' great aunt of the three children and she tells her story of the magical creatures she has encountered to the kids, which gives us a pretty neat backstory. The first half wasn't a lot of direct action and the second half was kind of slow but the book as a whole was lovely. Middle books are always tricky.


The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book Four; The Ironwood Tree by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

The lesson in this book definitely seems to be tell your parent/ guardian when serious things are going down. It's hard to review this book without spoilers but the world expands again in a really beautiful manner, I would totally live with dwarves. Underground? No sunlight? Precious metals? If it has wi-fi, I'm in.


The Spiderwick Chronicles, Book Five; The Wrath of Mulgarath by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

The whole series really comes together in this book, there are no lose ends, it's all tied up nicely with a satisfying ending.
The biggest complaint I saw on the Goodreads reviews for this series was that the books were so short, but these are books aimed at kids. And the authors know their audience. Averaging at just over 100 pages a book, these are the perfect length for the age group and I'll be keeping my copies around in the hope of sharing these stories with future children.
The whole series has beautiful illustrations as well that I just want to frame and put on my walls, they really add something to the books and are great for the imagination.


Talking Turkeys by Benjamin Zephaniah

To get hyped up for seeing Benjamin Zephaniah perform some of his poems, I thought it would be a good idea to read through my battered and loved copy of Talking Turkeys (now signed!). I love the poems in this collection, they're definitely aimed at kids but Zephaniah knows what he's doing and he does it well. The poem that led me to eventually become a vegetarian is in this book and I think it's a great little number to pick up for kids that maybe need a helping hand into poetry.


On Writing by Stephen King

This was recommended to me by my tutor as her first recommendation to new students of writing and as a fan of Stephen Kings work I was more than willing to pick up a copy. I've been dipping in and out of it for months but decided to finally sit down and read it cover to cover. Personally, I think if you have even the remotest interest in writing as a degree, career or even just for fun then this is something I would pick up. I learnt a huge amount about his method of writing which was fascinating, and it really inspired me in my own writing. When I finished it, I felt like turning it over and starting from the beginning again. I was really inspired.


The Princess Diaries: Third Time Lucky by Meg Cabot  

I started re-reading this series last year in February and didn't feel like picking up the next book at the time. But a couple weeks ago there was a #BookBloggersChat on twitter and I got talking to Hera about the books again which inspired me to pull out my copy. And I enjoyed it! The characters are likeable and pretty dang accurate to teenagers, they're funny and young and whiney and have, what I call, 'high school bullshit' drama. 
A little thing I noticed, my edition is so old it actually says 'the third and final part' in the blurb. This was clearly before the next 7 books came out! 


The Princess Diaries: Mia Goes Forth by Meg Cabot    

This took me a little longer to read than the third book. A lot of the beginning is very stationary as Mia is in Genovia and is doing a lot of boring princess stuff, but it soon picks up when she calls her friend. I was actually smiling when I read the last twenty or so pages because of how mushy and cute it was, I don't read a lot of romance so it was a nice experience. 


The Walled City by Ryan Graudin*

I flew through this book in about four days, which was about 100 pages a day and oh my goodness. The story is set over 18 days, with a countdown as chapter titles, it was very dramatic! And has three characters, each in a very different situation within The Walled City. Jin Ling, who just wants to find her sister. Dai, who has a mysterious past and a plan to get out. And Mei Yee, who has been sold into prostitution and just wants to stay alive. The Walled City actually existed too, you can read about it here
A issue I've seen a few people have with this book is the frequent use of metaphors, but I picked this up right after reading 150 pages of The Handmaid's Tale and in comparison, this book does metaphors much more smoothly. It feels polished and doesn't jar the reading. In fact, this is one of the first books in a while where it felt more like I was watching the story, rather than reading it.


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

You may remember that this book came in my February Loot Crate and I was super excited to read it, unfortunately reality wasn't as good as the hype or my expectations.
Now I was born in the nineties, so my knowledge of the eighties is next to nothing. In fact, I really can't think of anything I watch/read/listen to that comes from the eighties. The references this book made kind of flew over my head rather than making my nostalgic, which I think is the main charm of. I got very excited at the one Firefly reference, but that was really it, so I can only imagine how people who knew the eighties would feel. For me, the book wasn't strong enough to carry itself without that.
I'm constantly told to show, not tell in my writing, and I think that's the main problem I had with this book. I felt like I was being told everything.


The Glam Guide by Fleur De Force**
You can read my full review here!

What did you read this month?

*I won this from Goodreads.
**I was sent this for review.

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