Saturday, 19 September 2015

Blogging Fail & Clicklist #7

I had many a good intention regarding writing posts. Firstly I planned to do a week in outfit posts, which was undone by the fact that book tripods aren't the best at being able to include a whole outfit. Then I thought I'd do a post about a couple of restaurants I visited and then promptly forgot to take any photos (though The Picture Cafe and The Winterbourne Arms are both recommended).

So I figured I'd put together a list of people whose blog/general internet game is far better than mine.

-Rosie's wedding just looks beautiful

-I love this post by Amber in defence of make-up, even if I do find it a little depressing that there is a culture that women have to defend the fact they enjoy wearing make-up

-I'm still suffering from missing Italy. A lot. Gala went to Florence and uploaded a ton of photos of a city that is becoming one of my favourites.

-These no-bake peanut butter bars look to die for. Chocolate + Peanut Butter = Love

-These pancakes look so bad, but also so good

-24 Reasons to be Pretty Damn Excited About Autumn

-Rose went to Saint Lucia, and I would now like to go to Saint Lucia

-Emma's article about being courted through MySpace was a nostalgia fest

-The Importance of Surrounding Yourself with Strong Women

-21 Things I've Learned About Success from Failing Many Times

-23 Life Lessons We Learn as Teenagers

-I really liked Charlotte's post about the things she feels down about and the reasons why she shouldn't feel bad. I'm super guilty of comparing myself to others constantly and this is a good reminder that that is not a good thing to do.

-I'm certainly guilty of using my weekends to get everything done and feeling like I need another weekend by the end of it. Selina's post about a spa in Birmingham (which I'd never heard of) sounds lovely. Also if you know of any other Brum-based bloggers, let me know!

-Emma's guide to surviving London Fashion Week made me literally lol in the office.

-Meg on the fringe benefits of confidence.

-If You Don't Have Savings in Your 20s You're a Fucking Idiot. Obviously a click-baity title that doesn't take into account a lot of the nuance around the issues around having savings; however, sometimes I feel like the internet is a bit too ~treat yourself, travel everywhere, no regrets~ to be actually practical.

-I've been loving Lily's moving vlogs, they're very 'real' if that makes any sense and it's so nice to see someone else doing this ~living alone~ thing. The first one is below.

-Another vlog series that I've been liking has been the behind the scenes look at the new production of Spring Awakening on Broadway. It's a production that uses both deaf and hearing actors, and seeing the behind the scenes interactions is fascinating.   

Right, I'm off to schedule some proper posts!

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Friday, 4 September 2015

Current Favourites

Favourite posts tend to be a monthly thing within the beauty community both in the blogosphere and on YouTube. I don't really try enough new things each month to do these monthly (stick with what you know, right); but this is a sneak peak of the things I'm liking right now.

(Apologies for how grim the Ren bottle looks-at least you know I use it!?)
This is basically a bit of an insight into my skincare routine for the past few months. I picked up the Ren ClearCalm Clarifying Clay Cleanser after reading many good things about the brand and spotting it stocked on the M&S website (that link here) which meant a discount. I use this in the morning which always feels a tiny bit luxurious. A long time favourite is the Soap & Glory Peaches & Clean Deep Cleansing Milk, which is so good at removing make-up and lasts forever. Whilst I wouldn't say they totally cure my skin issues, but any break-outs do get dealt with quite quickly. I've also been loving the much-loved Soap & Glory Hand Food, I've previously been really lazy with hand cream but living somewhere where I have to wash-up means that I've been reaching for this loads to stop my hands feeling all weird and prawny.

If I do get a monster zit that all the positive thinking in the world won't diminish, the Soap & Glory Dr Spot Super Strength Breakout Clearing Gel is amazing at reducing a spot pretty much overnight. Though it can really sting if you apply it to a particularly sensitive spot, as a word of warning. In terms of make-up I've been enjoying anything that helps me look more awake. The Revlon Powder Blush in Haute Pink is bright without being scary, but definitely makes you look more alert. Rimmel's Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Liner in Nude is a) a complete bargain and b) amazing in the waterline to make you look like you have actually slept.

Moving on to another one of my loves, food. As a former M&S employee it pains me to admit that a competitors Meal Deal could be as good as our Dine In, but Tesco runs their £10 meal for two all the time and I indulged as a pay day treat. These are great if you have someone to share with, but if you're a single pringle you can also use them to take care of at least two meals. Plus, they have these truly amazing chocolate & salted caramel pots. So naughty, but so good. In slightly healthier food recommendations, the Pret a Manger Teriyaki Salmon Salad is to die for. It's about £5 but far better than cheaper supermarket versions, and I could quite happily eat just wakame seaweed. It's a definite treat for me, but really worth trying if you haven't yet.

Finally, something a little bit different. You've probably heard of the website Snapfish, which I hit up when I realised all my physical photos date from my first year at university. Downloading the app meant that I got 50 free prints, and it's in some way easier to use than the website. You can view photos from your phone, Facebook, Instagram and existing albums online, and can pay through the app as you would normally. I just like well-made apps. So yes.

What have you been enjoying lately?

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

A Month in Books: August

For some reason, when I was thinking about what I'd read this month I was under the impression that I hadn't read that much, but I still managed about a book a week. I will say that I didn't really read anything that was really brilliant, but here's what I read anyway.

Winter of the World by Ken Follett (2012, Macmillan)
Winter of the World is the second in Ken Follet's Century trilogy which is set throughout the 20th century. This novel focuses on the children of the charactersfrom the first novel during the run-up and events of World War Two, crossing the UK, USA, Germany and Russia. Unfortunately, I felt that the characters tended to be quite 2D-either being crazily brave & courageous or awful, with the only character that I really liked being killed off.  Plus, as I've studied this period of time both at school and at university, the pages of political developments were a little dull. However, I did like the insight into normal life in Germany, and the fact that Follett didn't shy away from showing the rising right-wing sentiment in the UK. I'll be picking up the final installment, mainly because my Mum assured me that it is really good.

Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick (2009, Granta)
I've heard so much about this book which tells the story of citizens of North Korea, before they defected. Demick does a really good job at collecting individual stories and this is a really fascinating insight into the social structures and politics of a country that we in the West are far too good at dismissing as some kind of eccentric wasteland.

The Children Act by Ian McEwan (2014, Jonathan Cape)
McEwan's latest novel tells the story of Fiona, a middle-aged successful family law judge, whose husband tells her that he would like to have an affair-no doubt with a younger woman. Whilst reeling from this news she is given the case of a hospital wanting to intervene to give a teenager a blood transfusion-who is resisting due to the fact that he is a Jehovah's Witness. This is quite a small novel, if anything it's simply a character study of Fiona, who is a really interesting character. However, the novel does start to stretch reality in a way that I wasn't fully convinced by. Plus, the writing whilst good was pretty clinical. This was probably intentional due to the legal background of the plot, but it did mean that I felt quite separated from the action.

In the Woods by Tana French (2007, Hodder & Stoughton) 
I've heard nothing but good things about this novel across the book internet (here's Kate's glowing review), so I went into this crime novel with incredibly high expectations. In the Woods is the story of Adam Ryan, who years earlier was with his friends when they both disappeared. Now Rob Ryan, with an English accent and working in the Dublin murder squad, he is plunged back into the past when a young girl is discovered murdered in his old home town. I loved the relationship between Rob and Cassie Maddox, his partner on the case. Plus, I thought the case itself was pretty interesting. However, I found Rob a little irritating and I've read plenty of books featuring antiheroes so he didn't feel particularly new. Mainly, I think this was just a case of overly high expectations. I think the second in the series focuses on Cassie, so I'll definitely check that out.

And that's it! What did you read in August? September seems to be the start of all the major new releases and I'm excited.