Saturday, June 3, 2017

Reading Roundup | May

Hi, Last month was a slow one for reading, I only finished two books, I'm really hoping to find the time in June to catch up on my Goodreads goal (currently one book behind). Both the books I read last month where ones I knew nothing about because I picked them up from my local charity shop for just 50p each.


Reading Challenge 14/35

The Sky Is Everywhere
Author -
Page Count - 320
First Published - 2010
 
Seventeen year old Lennie Walker is an avid clarinet player and content with living life in the slow lane shadowed by her older sister Bailey. The story starts just after Bailey's sudden death and covers Lennie’s feelings and how she handles the sudden loss of her sister. Lennie is forced to take center stage in her own life and suddenly boys are very much a part of her life. She is stuck between Toby her sister’s boyfriend who she finds a connection with because of their joint grief and the new boy who causes Lennie immense happiness. I was reading this book waiting for the inevitable to happen.

I read 'I'll give you the sun' another book by Jandy Nelson and loved her writing style, it’s very similar in this book, very honest and funny at times. A classic YA of self discovery with some romance thrown in, also covering grief and guilt. One of my favourite parts about this book is the illustrated pages littered throughout the book with these poems/stories that Lennie writes and then hides.

Monster
Author – C.J. Skuse
Page Count - 318
First Published - 2015


Nash is sixteen and thinks her biggest struggle is the fight for head girl at her prestigious boarding school Bathory. Her brother goes missing while traveling and her parents are forced to leave Nash at the school over the Christmas holidays to try and locate him. There have been reports of sightings of the Beast of Bathory (an old town legend) and people are going missing or been found dead. A blizzard rages outside the school and things start to get weird. The girls left behind over the holidays have to work together to survive until help arrives.

I believe this book would be classed as a thriller but with a YA setting, I'm not the biggest fan of thrillers as I feel a lot of the book tends to be filler to hold the suspense. I didn't dislike this book but I do think it's one that needs to be devoured and read in a few sittings to truly make the most of it. I struggled with the book because I didn't have the time to truly get into it.

Is there a genre of book you struggle to enjoy?
Sam

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Monthly Mini Goals | June

Hi, I think the weather has finally got to the point where you could consider it summer. June has the the longest day of the year so it must be summer now right? Well I'm trying to be more adventurous with my outfits to make the most of this lovely nice warm weather, but British weather is so unpredictable.



Goals for June
  • Do a book unhaul
  • Read four books
  • Have a BBQ
  • Do an outfit of the day post
  • Enjoy the sunshine
  • Do something to the house
  • Make a cocktail
  • Buy Paramores new album
  • Share a recipe
  • Plan a day out

I love fashion and it's something I'd love to blog about more but I'm really camera shy. I feel like I could take photos of an outfit without being too personal but that would be of someone else and I'm not sure my boyfriend has the eye for photography (but I haven't made him try so watch this space).

I have so many books I no longer need so I'm thinking an unhaul of books is a great way to make the most of having a clear out (inspired by Imogen's unhaul post). After last months slow reading and lack of time I need to up my reading and so I'm setting myself a four book target. I want to tidy up the garden some more (the grass needs cutting so badly). I'm thinking that a BBQ with homemade cocktails in the sun is a must this month.

I've been loving Paramores new album and I don't know why I haven't bought it yet so that needs putting right. With the better weather I would love to have a day out even if it's just a picnic at the local park.

Are you getting better weather? Any plans for the month ahead?
Sam

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May in Review

Hi, This month has flown by and I can't believe I'm already writing this post (I'm sure I say this every month). Time passing me by is reflected in my lack of posts this month, I just haven't had the time. I haven't done any reading either which means I've got some catching up to do but that's what days in the sun are for.



Goals for May 6/10
  • Survive a hen party
  • See Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Post five times this month
  • Cut down on my fizzy pop intake
  • Get to 200 Pokemon on PokemonGo
  • Start a DIY project
  • Book a trip away
  • Review my cruelty free progress
  • Try something new
  • Work on my Pinterest boards

I finally went to see the new Guardians of the Galaxy film, which was so good. It was a really good film and the story was very unexpected, I managed to avoid the spoilers. I don't think it was quite as good as the first one because that was such an unexpected favourite. I've been on a bit of a health kick this month and made a big effort to avoid fizzy pop and it was pretty easy to cut out. I've also been trying a lot of new healthy recipes. One of my favourites is a seafood noodle soup concoction I made, it tastes so good.

As mentioned above I've been a bad blogger and so I've failed two of my goals. I've not posted five times and I didn't review my cruelty free products but I'm still planning on doing this as soon as possible. I did however complete my PokemonGo goal of getting over 200 Pokemon, I'm now at 204, new Pokémon include Muk, Sunkern, Milktank, Clefa and Bayleef.

The highlight of the month was my weekend away in Newcastle for my cousins hen party, I'm happy to say it was a lot of fun. We went to it’s a knockout, had a cocktail making class, karaoke booth and partied the night away. A very busy and tiring weekend and then Huddersfield town A.F.C only went and won the match at wembley, putting the cherry on the top of the hen party weekend. I haven't book a trip away but I'm feeling good after this last weekend, it's been discussed about having a cheeky holiday in the sun with my sister.

How was your month, did you do anything new?
Sam

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

7 Tips For Meal Planning

Hi, Do you ever get home from a long day at work and you have no idea what to cook or find the fridge is empty. Well today I'm talking about how much easier my life has been since taking a little time each week to plan meals. I plan my lunch/Tea for Monday-Friday, leaving the weekend open to spontaneity/takeaways.


Tips For Meal Planning


Bonuses of meal planning
  • Meal structure can lead to a healthy rate of weight loss.
  • Having a list will make shopping quicker.
  • A weekly menu takes the stress out of cooking.
  • Sticking to your list will stop spontaneous purchases, saving money and calories.
  • Helps you use up left over foods or things coming close to there use by date.

How to plan a weeks worth of meals

Tip 1. For breakfast and lunch try to keep it simple. Buy ingredients that will work for a few meals, a 500ml carton of yogurt, to have with frozen berries, will last you the week.

Tip 2. To plan your weekly meals start by looking at what you already have. Meal planning makes it easier to use up meat from the freezer or veggies left over from the previous week. Using up ingredients you already have lowers your weekly food bill and reduces food waste.

Tip 3. Using any ingredient you have found, work out the meals you want to eat for the next five days. You don't have to have anything fancy just stick to the foods you know you'll look forward to eating, this will stop temptation to change your meal plans later in the week.

Tip 4. When buying fresh plan meals that will use ingredients that are usable over a few recipes. A good example would be eggs, you have to buy a minimum of 6 so plan to use them before their use by date.

Tip 5. Write all your ideas down in no order and then work out what sides you would have with your choices, to keep meals interesting try to have a mixture of rice, noodles, pasta, vegetables or bread as a side. Now work on your final meal order.

Tip 6. Once you have your meal ideas write a shopping list of all the ingredients you need. Sticking to the list will help to stop spontaneous purchases which will save you money and stop the temptation to buy that bar of chocolate.

Tip 7. Make your meal plan visible, write in out in a place you will see it, I have a black board for this very reason. Seeing your daily meal will remind you of any preparation required (like getting the meat out of the freezer).

When meal planning remember it's only five days and then you get to start again next week. Keeping a record of your weekly meal plans and rotating them makes the selection of meals even quicker.

Do you think you would meal plan?
Sam

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Lush Review | Big Blue Bath Bomb

Hi, Today I'm reviewing Lush's Big Blue bath bomb. I don't know how but after repurchasing this bath bomb so many times I haven't reviewed it, I'm putting that right today. From my experience of claiming this bath bomb to be one of my favourites it seems to be a love it or hate it affair.


Big Blue Bath Bomb

Big blue is vibrant blue on the bottom and white on the top, detailed with an embossed Lush logo. A classic style bath bomb with a really fresh scent, there are normally visible hints of the seaweed hiding within. A very fast fizzer that doesn't last long, it's not got the best bath art but it's got so much more to offer. It's available all year round and is one of the Lush product I pick up if I want something familiar.

The bath bomb contains a mixture of Arame Seaweed, Fine Sea Salt, Lemon oil and Lavender oil. The seaweed softens in the water and releases iodine which helps to regulate the metabolism. The sea salt softens the skin while the oils add calming scents and antiseptic properties. This is a bath bomb I always reach for when I need a real therapeutic bath rather than one for the visual pleasure but I think it looks pretty dam cool.


The water is incredibly soft and after a long soak my skin always feels so much softer and refreshed. The colour of the water is this lovely turquoise blue/green depending on the lighting. As well as the change in water colour you get a really interesting effect in the water from the seaweed, which is what from my experience puts people off, I like it. My bath required a bit of a wash down after use but that's a norm with Lush bath bombs. If you're after a refresh then this is your bath bomb.
  
Have you tried the Lush Big Blue bath bomb?
Sam

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Reading Roundup | April

Hi, I read two very different genres this month one about zombies the other was whimsical. According to Goodreads I'm a book ahead of my goal at the moment which makes me very happy. I've no idea what I want to read next (I've got a few books waiting for me, I just can't pick). 



Reading Challenge 12/35


Feed (Newsflesh Trilogy 1)

Author -
Page Count - 599
First Published - 2010
 
I wanted to read a book about Zombies and with the end of the walking dead looming I decided to pick up the first book in the Newsflesh Trilogy. I don't think I'd done too much research into this story line as I didn't want spoilers but it's not the kind of Zombie book I was really after but it was interesting in it's own way.

The book features a brother sister duo (who are both adopted and not related) living in the aftermath of a zombie uprising 20 years after the event. Society has found a way to continue by living along side zombies and things like the internet are still going strong. Georgia and Shaun alongside friend Buffy run a successful blog documenting and keeping the public knowledgeable about the zombies. They get an invite to be the personal team to document a presidential candidates campaign and that's where the story begins.

This was a lengthy book and I think that's why I'm not rushing to finish the series as the other books are just as big. The story looks at a zombie outbreak in some interesting way that I'm not sure I've seen so far (like the fact that everyone basically becomes vegetarian). If you're after a the dead are rising type book then this isn't for you, but if you're interested to see a world after then it was pretty interesting.


The Potion Diaries

Author - Amy Alward
Page Count - 356
First Published - 2015
 
Would it be weird if I said I wanted to read this book because the lead character is called Samantha? I wanted to read something lighthearted and that I knew I could finish relatively quickly after previously reading such a long book.

Samantha Kemi comes from a family of previously famous alchemists, who have a little potions store in Kingstown. The story is centered around the fact that the Princess of Nova accidentally administers a love potion to herself and this puts the whole kingdom in danger. A hunt is then called to all alchemist to find the cure before it's too late. There's an interesting mix of modern and magical which brings this book right up to date.

This book was kinda cheesy but I honestly loved how easy it was to get drawn into the story which had everything from young love, danger, trails of friendship and Unicorns. If you fancy a quick read that's not all that serious I'd really recommend, I think this would be a great book for younger readers as it's so innocent.

The Potion Diaries - Royal Tour

Author - Amy Alward
Page Count - 372
First Published - 2016
 
Obviously I had to read the follow up book as it was sat on my shelf. I always find writing about sequels hard as I'm scared of giving anything away from the previous story.

It contains a lot of the same elements as the first book but this time Samantha Kemi is searching for her great-grandmothers lost journal. It's believed that she created the most powerful potion for healing and now there's a rush on to find it first before anyone with sinister intentions finds it.

I think you could quite easily read this book as a stand alone as anything you might have missed is referenced again to fill in missed information or refresh your mind to the previous plot. I worried that this book might be a little repetitive but it's fast pace and descriptive scene setting makes it a really pleasant read.

What have you been reading? Are you working on a Goodreads goal?
Sam

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Monday, May 1, 2017

Monthly Mini Goals | May

Hi, Another month, another set of goals. With today being a bank holiday I'm trying my hardest to get ahead with blogging this month (emphasis on trying). I feel this month is going to be a busy one for meeting up with people and celebrating, also an expensive one. The weather is definitely on the warmer side and I want to make the most of it, I'd love to have my first BBQ of the season.


Goals for May
  • Survive a hen party
  • See Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Post five times this month
  • Cut down on my fizzy pop intake
  • Get to 200 Pokemon on PokemonGo
  • Start a DIY project
  • Book a trip away
  • Review my cruelty free progress
  • Try something new
  • Work on my Pinterest boards

At the end of the month I'm going to my cousins hen party weekend, we're off to Newcastle. I'm both looking forward to it and a bit scared (it's been a long time since I've been on a night out). I've never been on a hen do and I've got those classic images of willy straws and too much alcohol. I'm sure the experience will be full of new things but I want to set out and consciously do something new this month.

I'm really looking forward to seeing Guardians of the Galaxy and need to hurry up and get my butt to the cinemas. Are you still playing PokemonGo? I'm currently at 199 Pokemon in the Pokedex, I'm so close to 200. I'd also like to cut down on how much fizzy pop I drink, it's become a really bad habit.

From the perspective of blog goals I'd like to post at least five times (more would be nice). I'd also like to work on my Pinterest boards more (for DIY and home interior ideas) and somehow work it into an interesting blog post. I also really need to look at what I still need to change in my daily routine to be more cruelty free (would you like to see how I'm doing?).

Have you got any plans for the month ahead or tips for hen party's?
Sam

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