Saturday, December 19, 2015

Why I'm Not Blogging at the Moment

Hi, I don't really know how to write this and I've been putting it off but I finally felt ready. Last Saturday my boyfriend was given the news that his dad had passed away, he was only 50. It was sudden, unexpected and a massive shock, one I still don't think has fully sunk in. I apologize for dropping that on you because it's horrid to hear of loss at the best of times but just before Christmas just makes it seem worst. We are okay and getting things sorted, Christmas will be a little weird this year. I just wanted to let you know, it's been rather quiet on here.

It's a week since my last post, I think that's maybe the longest I've gone without posting since I started. I'm disappointed that Blogmas hasn't turned out like I had hoped but 12 days of continuous posts was still a big achievement. I hope that you can understand why I'm not posting at the moment, I just don't feel that Christmassy and have zero motivation. But I hope to be back as soon as I feel ready with loads of new posts for you guys. Have a lovely Christmas.

Sam

Saturday, December 12, 2015

My Christmas Wishlist | #BLOGMAS Day 12

Hi, Today I wanted to share my Christmas wishlist. I have a real hard time thinking about what I want for Christmas because there aren't that many things I feel I really need, although I'll never say no to Lush goodies or a H&M voucher but other than that I'm stuck. I was forced by a few family members to put my thinking cap on and come up with some ideas so I thought I'd share my picks with you.



On my list you'll find the For life Strainer teapot and some lose leaf green tea, I bought my boyfriend one of these teapots last Christmas and I totally recommend them. I'm almost out of the Loverdose perfume and the 50ml bottle is only £25 on Superdrug at the moment, it's a really great scent and one you should try.

I'm a massive Lush fan and I'll be happy with any products from their range but I really want to try 'The Magic of Christmas Wand' and I'd love to have a play with some 'Fun' for the first time, it's not a product I see reviewed. I'm a big reader and a lover of trilogies so I though it was about time that I read the Divergent series. Finally I picked the sleeping Pikachu plush just because it's super cute.

What's on your Christmas list?
Sam

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Friday, December 11, 2015

10 Budget Friendly Christmas Tips | #BLOGMAS Day 11

Hi, It's no secret that I'm really frugal with my spending and if at all possible I will save money when making a purchase. I don't think Christmas should be any different and if anything it's a time when everyone needs to reassess what they really need as it's such an expensive time of year. Christmas shouldn't be about how lavish a gift you can buy or how many, it's a time for getting together with people we care about and being thankful for the things we already have, I think the commercial side of Christmas gets in the way a bit. Today I've got some tips for saving money over the Christmas period, some of these might be a little late for those of you who are really organised.


Budget Friendly Christmas Tips

Gift Budgets and Secret Santa
This year me, my friends and family have all agreed to have a spending limit on the gifts we buy so that things don't get out of hand. If you have a big family why not consider a Secret Santa system. You could still buy everyone a smaller token gift, but by doing the Secret Santa everyone still gets one special gift.

Hand Deliver Cards
Okay so this one might not be super doable depending on the distance your family and friends are spread around the country/world, but if possible popping into see those people is not only saving you the cost of a postage stamp but brightening someones day.

Buy Tickets In Advance
I personally don't need to travel but I do know that train tickets are expensive, if you plan ahead and pre-book tickets you can save loads of money. If possible why not get someone to give you a lift and pay for the petrol it's probably a lot cheaper, or look at other ways to travel like the Mega bus which has some crazily low prices.

Don't Buy Gift Sets
This one will probably split people because there's something nice about a preboxed gift which is easy to wrap and sometimes with deals they will work out cheaper but in other cases depending on the contents it's way cheaper to make your own hamper of goodies.

Offers and Loyalty Points
If gift sets are your thing make sure you're getting an offer, check for the best price and if possible take advantage of multi buy offers. Buying from stores with loyalty points means you're also getting something back, Tesco have a double up system on points already collected so you can buy even more.

Don't Over Look The Pound Shops
I recently did a £1 stocking filler gift guide and it just shows what amazing things you can pick up for as little as a pound, with a little shopping around sometimes even cheaper. No one said gifts had to be expensive to be good.

Give Homemade
So craft isn't always that cheap but homemade gifts do really show you care. It's the perfect excuse to do some festive baking, you could make some cookies. Alternatively learn to knit and make a scarf for someone.

Start Shopping in The Sales
I'm known for doing this, it helps if you've got the storage room but you can really make some great savings. I don't tend to keep the gifts until Christmas choosing to pick unfestive gifts to give out as Birthday presents during the year. If it's Christmas gifts you want look out for seasonal sales earlier in the year where you can pick up quirky items a lot cheaper. Don't buy items that have use by dates as these will end up being a waste of money rather than a saving.

Don't Pay Postage
This is my biggest annoyance with online shopping. Over the year if you add up how much you've spent on postage with the odd £3.99 here and there you'd be shocked. So when shopping online always do a quick voucher search, it's very rare that I don't find a code. If you're planning a trip into town anyway look at store collection options to see if they're free instead.

Get a Fake Tree
I've only ever had a real tree once and honestly I missed my fake tree. I know there are advantages to real trees but I hate to think of a tree being grown and then cut down and left to die (morbid thought sorry). In the long run fake trees are much better for the environment and a hell of a lot cheaper. Buy one in the sale to make an even bigger saving, along with decorations and lights, that way you're ready for next Christmas.

I hope this was helpful. Do you have any money saving tips?
Sam

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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Decoration Wishlist | #BLOGMAS Day 10

Hi, One of my favourite parts of Christmas is decorating to make everything to look festive. We put our tree up on Sunday, which was really early for us but we didn't want to wait any longer. I can't believe we're already on day 10 of Blogmas, considering how unprepared I am, I'm shocked that I've managed to keep up the daily blogging this long. Today I've got a wishlist of festive decorations that I'm going to be keeping an eye on for reductions to join my existing pieces. As you tell my theme is quite icy, made up of a mixture of white, blue and silver. I would have picked more things but I think the shops are really limited on pieces that I really like this year.


Wilko Polar bears £1.50 Each | Wilko Brush Glass Bauble £1.50 Each
H&M Marble Bauble twin pack £6.99 | Wilko Snow Globe £4.00
Primark Star Cushy £5 | John Lewis Rocking Horse £2.50

How cute are the polar bear baubles, they're store exclusives and I've been trying to find them but so far no luck. I think they are a really good price for the detail. Continuing with the polar bear theme I've picked the snow globe, I think they are the nicest little ornaments to have and this one isn't overally Christmassy so you could have it all year round.

I like to have a few textures on the tree if possible so different finishes on baubles is great. I really like the marble effect ones (which I think just looks like running paint) from H&M because they are visually interesting, but a little over priced. The frosted baubles from Wilko are really pretty and one of the few blue baubles I've seen this year, the finish looks like frozen metal.

I'd love the rocking horse from John Lewis which I think is suppose to be a first Christmas bauble for a little boy but it's adorable. Made from Polymer clay it looks like it's knitted which is a lovely touch. Lastly I found this silver star cushion from Primark it's a really cute size and it fits perfectly with my theme. I saw it in store and didn't want to carry it all day so hopefully I'll still be able to get one.

What colour/theme do you have on your Christmas tree?
Sam

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Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Secret Santa Dos and Don'ts | #BLOGMAS Day 9

Hi, I don't know about you but secret Santa is one of the elements of Christmas that makes it more fun as an adult. Secret Santa is commonly used as a way of spreading the Christmas cheer around the office at work or to help curve the spending with a large group of people. The amount of money a secret Santa gift requires is set by the group and can be anything from a few quid. This year I'm taking part in two secret Santa's one at work the other with family as an extra little something.


Secret Santa Dos and Don'ts


Do
  • Take part and have fun, it's suppose to be a bit of a laugh to get people in the festive spirit.
  • Find out about your recipient, preferably as discreetly as possible.
  • Be original - look in unusual places like markets.
  • Be grateful for the gift you receive even if it's not something you want.

Don't
  • Spend over the budget - This is awkward for everyone.
  • Tell everyone who you're buying for - it spoils the fun, people normally say after anyway.
  • Forget to buy a present and buying something on your lunch break is as bad.
  • Buy a joke present unless it's someone close, things can easily be taken the wrong way.

Are you taking part in a secret Santa?
Sam

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

My Favourite Films For Christmas | #BLOGMAS Day 8

Hi, I've got my favourite Christmas movie selection for you today. Writing this post has made me want to sit and watch all these films back to back. So this weekend I'm making plans that involve the sofa, a large blanket and lots of hot chocolate. I'm feeling really festive now we're a whole week into advent and I can't wait to get some presents wrapped and placed under the tree.



My Favourite Films for Christmas

The Muppet's Christmas Carol
This is a film I over looked for way too long, it's my boyfriends favourite Christmas film. He made me sit down and watch it properly and I'm so happy I finally did. I like films that are a little bit different visually, and the Muppet's as puppet work is a fine example of this. As it's a comical retelling of the classic 'A Christmas Carol' it's even better because I feel like I'm watching something quite sophisticated but with a fun twist.

The Nightmare Before Christmas
One of my all time favourite Tim Burton films and probably the first film of his I saw. We used to have Halloween parties when I was very little with the family and it was a bit of a tradition to go to the video store and hire this film for the night. Since then I've grown to see this film as more Christmas themed film, but it works equally well for both. The song when Jack ends up in Christmas town is perfect. The cherry on the top of the cake is that this film is the stop motion animation which is my all time favourite.

Balto
Oh how I love this film, it's not a Christmas film but it's set in a snowy Canada. Balto is an animated film based on real events and the heroics of an outcast. Balto is a Wolf/Husky cross who can't find his place in the world, his friends are a goose, two polar bears cubs and a husky. One day an epidemic hits the small town of Nome and all the children are gravely ill, a storm hits and it's down to a sled dog team to get the medication. It's a really heart warming film and I'm a sucker for animated films featuring talking anaimals.

Jingle All The Way
The first live action movie of the list. I think my mum took us to see this film at the cinemas as a Christmas treat way back when it came out (Arr that was 1996). A story of the search for that one must have present and the perils of leaving it until the last minuet. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a favourite of mine to watch when I was younger for the funny and rather strange roles he played. A funny take on the Christmas period with an over the top story line.

What's your favourite Christmas movie to watch?
Sam

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Monday, December 7, 2015

A Little Lush Haul | #BLOGMAS Day 7

Hi, I wanted to share the few pieces I picked up from Lush York on my resent visit. I really wanted to try somethings from the Christmas range but I didn't want to go too crazy as I know I've got a few Christmas gifts i'm really looking forward to. I picked up two items from the Christmas range and the Sky Dancer Bath Bomb because it was the first time I'd seen it in a store to buy.





Dashing Santa - £2.95
So I went in to buy from the Christmas range so I had to pick up a Dashing Santa. I've had this bath bomb in previous years so not very adventurous but I know it's a goodie and what says Christmas more than a Santa? His feet fizz away first giving him the motion to dash around in the bath water.

Shoot For The Star - £3.65
I originally didn't realise this was a Christmas themed bomb and as I'm a sucker for space themed products it seemed only right to pop it in my basket. It's a really pretty bomb with a shooting star motif and a mixture of yellow and blue which are suppose to recreate the nights sky in the water.

Sky Dancer - £3.95
So even though I went into store with the full intention of indulging in the Christmas range this bomb is the one I'm most excited about. I've seen reviews and it looks so good like the bird is flying around the bath as the bottom of the bomb dissolves first. I love this bomb even more because it's for a fund raising campainge and profits from everyone goes towards equipment to help keep the Hen Harriers from extinction. I'm really looking forward to reviewing this one, it's limited edition so one to try if you get the chance.

Will you be trying to bag a bargain in the Boxing Day sales?
Sam

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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Stocking Filler Ideas For £1 | #BLOGMAS Day 6

Hi, Today I've got a selection of very affordable gift ideas. I really enjoyed putting this post together, it's quite a task thinking of so many bargain options. I'm a massive fan of the hamper style of wrapping gifts but buying multiple items can get quite expensive. By buying a few bargain pieces you'll soon have a lovely selection of gifts.

Original Source - Superdrug (on offer)| Candle - Ikea | Vaseline Rosy Lips - Asda (on offer)
Wilkinsons - note books | Poundshop - fluffy socks | Wilkos - Montagne Jeunesse Face Mask
Poundshop - Festive Mug | 4x Hot Chocolate sachets most Supermarkets

These gifts do seem quite feminine but can be mixed up for a male quite easily. I think a DIY hot chocolate set is a really great idea and if made for a few people quite a cheap gift option. I recently tried the Maltesers Hot Chocolate and it's super yummy. Fluffy socks are great at this time of year, I'd normally pick them up in Primark where I think they're two pairs for £2.

There are some pamper items that you really can't go wrong with, these are a lip balm, shower gel and a face mask. I feel like I've cheated a little as the shower gel and lip balm are on offer, so if you fancy them pick them up while you can. I've picked the Rosy Lips Vaseline as it's a lovely lightly tinted formula which is a little bit more special than the normal varieties. There are so many different brand and normally a lot of offers to take your pick from, Superdrug face masks are normally on 3 for 2.

I felt the need to add a few cliche blogger gifts which would be the candle and note books. I think the Ikea candles are really good quality and the smaller size is only 85p. As a blogger note books are really important for keeping ideas together, this selection of three little note books from Wilkinson's is really sweet. A few other items which cost a little more would be the mini cactus set from Ikea and a few bath bombs from Lush which start at as little as £1.95.

What would your favourite item to receive be?
Sam

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

Small Business Saturday | #BLOGMAS Day 5

Hi, Just a quick post today to tell you about Small Business Saturday. A promotional event which falls on the first Saturday of December and started back in 2013. I first became aware of this campaign last year at a craft market, it's a way for small businesses to work together to get noticed and to get us the consumer to shop locally.

More and more people are starting up small business on the side and December is a great opportunity to gain sales with the run up to Christmas. If you're not heading out you could always look online at sites like Etsy and Not on The High Street.

Some bloggers I know of who have small businesses are:
Jemma from Dorkface she does really cool illustrations of pretty much anything.
Hayley from Water Painted Dreams who creates crochet goodies including the cutest elephants.
Jessica from Heart Shaped Bones an illustrator of the weird and wonderful.

I'm in York today with a group of friends to check out the markets and do a bit of Christmas shopping. I'm going to be making a special effort to go in all the independent shops that York is so well known for. Hopefully I can pick up some original pieces as gifts for the people I have left to buy for. Have a lovely weekend, if you support a small business you can tweet about it using #SmallBizSatUK.

Will you be supporting any small businesses today?
Sam

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Friday, December 4, 2015

The Christmas Tag | #BLOGMAS Day 4

Hi, Happy Friday! It's only 3 weeks until Christmas day, ekk how fast is that going to fly by. I've got the day off work, so I headed into town to do a little shopping. I picked up wrapping paper, cards and other Christmassy bits which have made me feel much more festive. I've still got some presents I need to buy though and I'm normally really good with ideas but this year I'm totally out. So today I've got the Christmas Tag for you to read, it was nice answering these questions as they got me thinking about the past and all the fun of Christmas.



The Christmas Tag

1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie/s?
My favourite Christmas film is Jingle All the Way, it's about a dad (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) trying to find his son that one gift that every other kid everywhere wants. I like it because it's a highly relate-able plot but it gets very far fetched but that just adds to a Christmas film.

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

We've always waited to open our presents until Christmas morning.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
To be honest all my Christmases seem to have merged together as we're a family of habit and tradition. I do remember going on a festive train ride once where Santa came round and gave us all a present, that was cool. My dad plays in a brass band, I did too when I was younger, so Christmas always makes me think of carols played by brass.

4. Favourite festive food?
I don't think I eat anything special at this time of year but I definitely indulge in more drinks, Hot Chocolate and Mulled wine.

5. Favourite Christmas gift?
The present that I loved the most has to be my original Gameboy, one of those grey bricks with massive pixels. I had so many hours of fun on it and got my first taste of the Pokemon world via Blue.

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
My favourite winter scent is Cinnamon, it just seems festive and tastes so good in Hot chocolate.

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

Since I was a few years old my family and my parents friends would take it in turn to host a Christmas eve get together, this year will be no different. We have a little buffet of jacket potatoes and pizza and play party games, which are hilarious.

8. What tops your tree?
Our tree has had a lot of toppers but at the moment we've just got a generic silver star.

9. As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?

I can't think of anything that I asked for and didn't get because I never really wanted anything, or anything extravagant anyway. I did once nag my mum for a guinea pig for my birthday, she bought me a hamster instead.

10. What's the best part about Christmas for you?

Can I say everything? After all it's a time for you to think of overs before yourself even if it's only about what present your going to buy and it brings everyone together. I see people at Christmas that I haven't seen all year, it gives you a reason to make time. Also the festive cheer and fairy lights.



What was your first games console? Let me know if you do the tag, I'd love to read your answers.
Sam

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

My Novelty Christmas Jumper Picks | #BLOGMAS Day 3

Hi, Have you dared to wear your Christmas jumper yet? Might as well get some use out of it right. The novelty jumper isn't a trend I had ever really taken part in until a few years ago when it was a requirement for a Christmas meal. I can't remember when exactly the Christmas jumper trend really hit but it's been going strong the last few years with a lot of high street stores supplying us with knitted delights to fill our festive needs. So I've put together a selection of pieces that perfectly sum up the Christmas period in woolen form.

CHRISTMAS JUMPERS 2015

Listed left to right
Snowman Primark - £12.00 | Reindeer H&M - £24.99 | Unicorn ASDA - £15.00
Penguins Primark - £14.00 | Dec 25th New Look - £19.99 | Festive Mix New Look - £19.99
Tree Hoodie - £19.99 | Reindeer Primark - £14.00 | Pudding New Look - £20.00

Primark really know what they are doing when it comes to Christmas jumpers and as always they are so reasonably priced. I'm really liking the snowman, he looks like he's having a lot of fun. My favourite Christmas jumpers are the more traditional one with bands of repetitive pattern and Primark have designed two which I would happily wear all winter never mind just at Christmas.

The Unicorn jumper is really sweet and totally plays into the whole I want a pony for Christmas thing, but it's a Unicorn and everyone knows that's way better. The slogan jumper is pretty cool and a really great pick for anyone who doesn't want to rock a super festive jumper. I've included the tree hoody simply because it's so different from anything else I've seen and would be a really over the top Christmas jumper, but I think it needs more pompoms.

What's on your Christmas jumper?
Sam

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

20 Ways to Get into The Festive Mood | #BLOGMAS Day 2

Hi, I've got a selection of ideas to share with you to get you in the festive mood, although I doubt a lot of you will really need the help. I love Christmas but I am getting a bit over whelmed by the fact that it seems to start earlier and earlier each year, so much so by the time December finally comes around it already feels a little stale. That's what inspired me to write this list as I needed a way to view Christmas freshly again. I'm over that now and see it from the kid inside who just wants to stare at all the flashing lights, sparkly trinkets and spend time with my friends and family, undoubtedly over a little bit too much food and drink.



Ways to Get into the Festive Mood
  1. Buy an advent calendar or make your own.
  2. Make present buying a social event and spend a day with someone who makes you happy.
  3. Go check out a Christmas market and maybe have a go at ice skating.
  4. Listen to your favourite Christmas songs.
  5. Buy new Christmas decorations and make decorating an event.
  6. Buy a TV guide and circle all the films you want to watch over the festivities.
  7. Do some Christmas baking - Mince pies/Sugar cookies.
  8. Indulge in the Christmas themed food and drink.
  9. Visit loved ones and share the festive feeling.
  10. Make your own Christmas cards, or simply enjoy writing them.
  11. Buy some new/Christmas Pajamas.
  12. Indulge in a Lush bath using something from the Christmas range.
  13. Make wrapping your presents a crafting experience with bows and colour schemes.
  14. Paint your nails with festive colours and glitter.
  15. Buy a festive smelling candle.
  16. Make/plan some games for Christmas day.
  17. Organise/take part in a secret Santa.
  18. Go for a walk and forage for Holly and Pine cones to use as decorations.
  19. Donate to Charity however you can, have a sort out and make room for new things.
  20. Read a Christmas/winter themed book.

Have you got any other suggestions for feeling festive?
Sam

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Monthly Mini Goals - December | #BLOGMAS Day 1

Hi, Ok it's officially the count down to Christmas. You may have guess from the title that I am planning on trying to complete Blogmas by blogging every day until Christmas, a whole 25 days of none stop blog posts. So today I'm kicking off with my monthly goals which as you can imagine feature a rather festive lineup.


Mini goals for December
  • Have an awesome Christmas
  • Get my Christmas Shopping Finished
  • Buy themed wrapping paper and make my presents into works of art.
  • Go to a Christmas Market - Maybe ice skate.
  • Make putting up the decorations an event with music and Baileys.
  • Complete my reading goal for the year of 35 books.
  • Drink mulled wine and all the other festive drinks.
  • Do some festive baking - Mince pies most probably.
  • Have a day out with my friends/family.
  • Do a Christmas DIY project, I'm really enjoying knitting again.

I really hope I can be organized enough to complete Blogmas, it would be a real accomplishment. Let me know if you're also taking part, I'd love to read some new blogs. I've got a few plans already in motion for this month and I'm sure there will be lots of mulled wine involved. I'm looking forward to Christmas songs on the radio and opening the rest of the doors on my advent calendar.

What's your goals for December?
Sam

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Monday, November 30, 2015

Monthly Highlights | November

Hi, How is the year almost over? I don't think there is anything quite like blogging for making you notice the passing of time, it feels like I was only just writing up my goals for this month. At least the end of November marks the count down to Christmas, I can't wait to put the Christmas tree up with music playing way too loud and a baileys in my hand. I wanted to do a shout out to Imii from Nettle&Blackberry because I won her giveaway way back at the beginning of the month which made me super happy. You should maybe go check out her blog, her photography skills are amazing.

INSTAGRAM MOMENTARILY DREAMING NOVEMBER 2015 GROUP


Mini Goals For November 7/10
  • Start Christmas Shopping
  • Work towards my book goal
  • Use Social Media more effectively
  • Take more photos
  • Go to the Cinemas
  • See some fireworks
  • Do some knitting
  • Buy some warmer clothes
  • Try a new flavor of tea
  • Do something out of my comfort zone

So this month has whizzed past and I haven't had the time to really think about completing my goals, but I've not done too badly. I have taken a few more photos via Instagram which is a big step as I never do that. I've managed to add an extra four books to my reading total for the year, which has made my goal seem a lot more achievable. I watched the fireworks on bonfire night as best as I could but the weather this year was so poor, still saw loads.

I went to the cinemas three times, this being down to the weather and hiding from the rain. I saw Crimson Peaks which I loved, The Woman in the Van which was ok and what I expected it to be and then lastly on Friday I went to see the new Hunger Games film, which I enjoyed but I could tell that they had messed around a lot with the events of the book.

I only just started buying Christmas gifts but I've been looking a while and was totally unable to decide, I just placed some massive online orders so hopefully I'm almost done. I tried a black tea Christmas blend for my new tea which is really nice with loads of christmassy spices. This was enjoyed while trying to remember how to knit, I managed to knit two little hats for the Innocent big knit and I just wish I'd had more time, #Sassybooks fault. I'm going to continue to knit them hopefully improving my knitting skills so I can send even more next year.

Recap/Highlights

 Are you excited for Christmas, got your advent calendar at the ready?
Sam

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Saturday, November 28, 2015

November Reading Roundup | Book Reviews

Hi, Today I've got another round up of what I've been reading this month. I've really been putting in the hours as the year is drawing to a end and I'm still a little way from my yearly reading goal. I've managed to read four books, one of which being this months #Sassybooks pick 'The Miseducation of Cameron Post' by Emily M. Danforth.

The Hundred-Year-Old Man 
Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared

Author -
Page Count - 396
First Published - 2012

Allan Karlsson is a very old man, on the day of his 100th birthday he climbs out of the window of the care home where he lives and goes on an adventure. He heads to the local bus station to see where he can go and ends up with a suitcase full of money. The story is told from the perspective of Allen but from his younger and older self in parallel. His present is light hearted and a tale of the suitcase, friendship and running for the police. His past however is much deeper, his life a connection of events deep routed in politics where he was always in the right place at the wrong time. I found this a little confusing as the chapters are really long and it took me a while to remember what had happened previously in both time zones. 

I think the style of writing works for the book, his past does have a big influence on the present and I liked how both elements of the story drew to an end at the same time. I enjoyed reading about the life of this old man, he has a big story to tell but I think these elements where a little drawn out, the fact that everything goes so smoothly for him gets a little boring, I much preferred reading about his present adventure and seeing how that would eventually end.

The Fault in Our Stars
Author - John Green
Page Count - 313
First Published - 2012

I think just about everyone knows this story, I saw the film and really fell for this love story. Hazel is a teenager living with cancer, the kind where it's under control for now but she feels like a ticking time bomb of unstoppable grief at the event of her death. One day at Support group she meets Augustus a cancer survivor. From the moment they meet he does not hide his interest in Hazel and they become friends, the only thing stopping them becoming more is hazel's fear of causing even more grief.

The story is set around Hazels favourite book which has a sudden cliff hanger ending, she wants anwsers from the author about what happens to the people left behind, this leads her and Augustus on a journey to Amsterdam. I enjoyed this book even more than the film, it's such an easy read that just carries you along with the couple on their journey. I finished it in only two days as it's a real page turner and even though I knew how sad this story is it got me emotional all over again.

Authority
Author - Jeff VanderMeer
Page Count - 341
First Published - 2014

The second installment in the southern reach trilogy. Unlike most trilogies where you feel like you are reacquainted with an old friend 'Authority' is like starting a completely new book. The first installment 'Annihilation' is set within area X but this book is set within the government organization building trying to work out what area X is from the perspective of a totally new character.

The story follows Control as he try's to unravel the mysteries of area X with the limited information they have available. The author writes in a very descriptive way that draws out simple elements of the story into much longer sequences which makes the story a little drawn out. A few questions are answered from the first book only to create new ones. This isn't a series I've really enjoyed so far I just hope it all ties together with the final book to make it worth the effort.

 Have you set yourself a reading goal?
Sam

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth | #Sassybooks November

Hi, Another #Sassybooks review for you today, this month we read 'The Miseducation of Cameron Post', a young adult novel focusing on the feelings of a young girl who is gay, set in the early nineties when not everyone's sexuality was accepted as openly as it is today. This book has been a real struggle to finish in time as it's just so long, don't forget to check out Charlotte's and Hayley's blogs for next month's book choice.


The Miseducation of Cameron Post

Author - Emily M. Danforth
Page Count - 470
First Published - 2012

Cameron post is a girl of 12 when her friendship with best friend Irene takes a sudden turn and they kiss. Cameron is both excited and confused by the event right from the beginning knowing she is doing something unconventional and frowned upon. Shortly after Cameron's parents have a tragic accident leaving her an orphan, her first thought is that her parents will never have to know her secret. Following her parents death, religious Aunt Ruth moves to secluded Miles City to become Cameron's guardian.

The story then follows Cameron over the years documenting her self discovery up until the point when Coley Taylor arrives in town, the perfect cowgirl type with a boyfriend. They form an unlikely friendship, which leads to much more and then Cameron's sexuality becomes public information. Overly religious Ruth sends Cameron to 'promise' a gay correction school in an attempt to 'fix' her niece.

The book is split into three sections: Summer 1989, High School 1991-1992 and God's Promise 1992-1993, the sections make the passing of time more apparent. I liked that there where odd little images of postcards and handwritten notes added among the text. The chapters where so long which I don't think helped me on my mission to finish this book. I didn't give myself nearly enough time to really enjoy it, having to force myself to read it to get it finished in time for the review. I fear that if I didn't have a deadline I would have been stuck reading this book for a considerably longer amount of time.

The writing is really lovely and very descriptive but at times the plot line seemed too distant for me to really be interested and submerged within the story. I really enjoyed the concept but I failed to connect with Cameron. She seems almost too laid back about the whole situation of being sent away and doesn't stand up for her own feelings nearly enough. I loved the elements of friendship and generally the young adult vibes but I think the true point of the story, the difference between rights and beliefs was a little under developed.

I'm looking forward to finding out what we are reading in December. Have you read this book?
Sam

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

TAG | Sweater Weather

Hi, Over the weekend it has definitely become colder and we even got a little snow which left the top of the hills white. I have been wearing my jumpers and woolly items of clothing even more to try and keep the cold at bay. Today I decided to do the sweater weather tag due to my total lack of original ideas, which I'm hoping I'll put an end too very soon and be back with some more interesting content. In the mean time I hope you enjoy this post and maybe learn something new about me.


Sweater Weather Tag

 

1. Favorite candle scent?
Without a doubt my favourite candle scent would be cinnamon, which is more popular at this time of year. I recently picked up A maple and cinnamon jar candle from Primark and it smells so good.

2. Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate?
I don't like coffee, I drink green tea but my favourite drink of indulgence at this time of year is a hot chocolate.

3. What's the best fall memory you have?
Every year when I was a kid we'd go to Matlock Bath in Derbyshire to visit the illuminations and have a trip to Gulliver's world. I'd sum these trips up as delightfully tacky but they still fill me with happiness.

4. Which makeup trend do you prefer: dark lips or winged eyeliner?
I love the dark lip trend up I think the winged eyeliner is more wearable for me personally, I love both trends though.

5. Best fragrance for fall?
I'm not an expert when it comes to perfume but my all time favourite, which I think works really well at this time of year, is Marc Jacobs Lola.

6. Favorite Thanksgiving food?
As I'm British we don't have thanksgiving so I'm going to talk from a Sunday roast point of view and as I'm from Yorkshire I'm obviously going to pick Yorkshire puddings.

7. What is autumn weather like where you live?
At first it's dry and really beautiful as the leaves change colour and everything becomes different from summer but then later in the year it becomes colder and the weather generally gets a bit rubbish.

8. Most worn sweater?
I don't think I've got a most worn apart from maybe the one I'm wearing right now which is an over sized burgundy jumper I got in the sales last year. I try to wear different things so I'm making the most of my wardrobe but I think this one is winning on the colour front.

9. Must-have nail polish this fall?
I love a really dark berry tone or alternatively I love a black polish mixed with something really sparkly. I have the worst nails so I don't indulge in nail art nearly enough.

10. Football games or jumping in leaf piles?
I'm not sporty or interested in sports really, so I'd have to pick jumping in leaf piles as this sounds like fun.

11. Skinny jeans or leggings?
Skinny jeans because I live in them any way, being short I find they make my legs look longer. If I'm not in jeans I'm wearing the Primark super cozy tights with a skirt.

12. Combat boots or Uggs?
Combat boots because the are the most similar to Dr Martens which are my all time favourite foot wear.

13. Is pumpkin spice worth the hype?
I've never tried it so I can't really comment.

14. Favorite fall TV show?
I don't relate TV to a particular time of year and all I can think of are X factor and Strictly come dancing all of which do not interest me. I'll more likely be watch a series which has been going for years in a collection of massive binge sessions while hiding from the cold.

15. What songs really gets you into the fall spirit?
So maybe it doesn't get me in the fall spirit but from the bands I listen to the only song that comes to mind with any reference to the fall season is 'Billy Talent - Fallen Leaves' it's actually a rather depressing song.

I tag you, let me know if you do the tag and I'll come read your answers.
Sam

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

100th Post and a Book Haul

Hi, This is my 100th post which is madness. I can't believe that I've got to the point of writing so many posts in such a short amount of time, it feels great. On the other hand with writing so many posts I feel a little out of ideas which is why the blog has been a little quiet. I've got big plans for December so I'm hoping to make it up to you.

BOOK HAUL

So I wanted to share with you some books I've recently bought with the hope of reading as many as possible to get to my target goal for the year of 35 books, I've got six books to go so I'm not doing too badly. I've got a mixture of books some from Amazon which where on a 3 for £10 offer and some second hand books from the charity shop which cost me 50p each.

The Martian - Andy Weir

I wanted to see the film but knowing it was a book I had to read that first. A story about an astronaut who is believed dead and left behind when a mission to mars is aborted. The story follows Mark Watney on his fight to survive. The book is written in short log entries, I can't wait to see how they read.

 

Panic - Lauren Oliver

This book is dubbed as a kind of Hunger Games story and as such interested me. A story about a set of games all about facing your biggest fears, the blurb gives the impression that there is some sort of prize but it's vague. Written from the perspective of two different characters, a writing style I love as you get to see things from different angels.

 

 Just a Girl Standing in Front of a Boy - Lucy-Anne Holmes

With the holidays coming I wanted something a little more lighthearted to pass a few hours. This book is about a woman who thinks shes got everything worked out and then everything changes. She meets a guy, her boyfriend proposes and her mother leaves her father and moves in with her. It sounds really cheesy but sometimes thats not a bad thing.



The next books are the ones I picked up in the charity shop, I had £2 in change so I had to get four considering how cheap they where. I fear if I'd had more money I would have been tempted to buy more. I grabbed two of these books crazy fast as I knew I wanted to read them, those being 'Us' and 'How to be a woman' having read books by both authors this year, I wanted to see how these compare. The other two where random selections which sounded interesting enough to tempt me into picking them.

 

Us - David Nicholls

'Douglas and Connie: scientist and artist, and for more than twenty years, husband and wife until suddenly, their marriage seems over. But Douglas is going to win back the love of his wife and the respect of Albie, their teenage son, by organising the holiday of a lifetime. He has booked the hotels, bought the train tickets, planned and printed the itinerary for a 'grand tour' of the great art galleries of Europe. What could possibly go wrong?'

How to Be a Woman - Caitlin Moran

'There's never been a better time to be a woman: we have the vote and the pill, and we haven't been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain...'

Behind the Scenes at the Museum - Kate Atkinson

'Ruby Lennox was conceived grudgingly by Bunty and born while her father, George, was in the Dog and Hare in Doncaster telling a woman in an emerald dress and a D-cup that he wasn't married. Bunty had never wanted to marry George, but her she was, stuck in the flat above the pet shop in an ancient street beneath York Minster, with sensible and sardonic Patricia aged five, greedy cross-patch Gillian who refused to be ignored and Ruby...'

How to Love - Katie Cotugno

'This is not a love story. But it's not what you think. This is not a first kiss, or a first date. This is not love at first sight. This is a boy and a girl falling in messy, unpredictable, thrilling love. This is the complicated route to happiness that follows. This is the real. This is life. This is how love is.'


 I hope you've maybe found a new book to add to your to read list and thank you for reading.
Sam

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Friday, November 13, 2015

7 Ways To Save Money When Buying Books

Hi, I recently bought quite a few books and I don't feel too guilty about the money I've spent as they really didn't end up costing that much. This got me thinking about how I manage to do a ton of reading without spending a crazy amount of money. I think I'd have a shock if I wrote down what I have spent this year on books but I know it would be a whole lot more if I wasn't following these points. So here are my money saving tips, I hope they are helpful.

7 Ways To Save Money When Buying Books


Ways To Save Money When Buying Books


Ebooks
I'm yet to get an e-reader as I prefer the feel of a book in my hands but I think they are a great idea. One of the main reasons I wish I had one is for the savings on buying books. EBooks are normally a bit cheaper and are often on really great deals. Obviously you've got the price of the e-reader to offset but I'm sure it'll work out cheaper in the long run.

Charity Shops
I recently found a charity shop selling really good books at only 50p each, what a bargain. The key to charity shops is to have an open mind and not judge the books on their cover too much. You can find some new releases as well if you're lucky. You might have to go in a few shops but I kind of like the element of mystery about what I'll find.

Buy Discounted
I never pay full price for books if I can help it, one of the first places I look if I'm wanting to buy a book is on Amazon. They are currently running a 3 for £10 on paperbacks promotion, depending on what you pick you can make huge savings. Supermarkets are also a great place to find discounts and promotions.

Buy the Bookset
If it's a trilogy/series your looking to buy, see if there is a complete collection you can purchase. I got the Game of Thrones books for £30 which equals about £4.30 for each of the seven books, a lot cheaper than buying them all separately.

Loyalty cards
If you end up buying a lot of books try to buy them from the same retailer with a loyalty rewards scheme to build up points/stamps to qualify for free books. Being on a mailing list also means you'll get sent discounts and promotions.

Join the Library
Most of the books I read come from the library, you'll be surprised by just how good they can be with having recent releases. If they don't have what you're looking for there is the option to get a copy sent to your local library for a small fee. Most library also offer the option of eBooks. I find looking online at the availability and selection of books is really helpful before I make a visit.

Have a Book Swap
Me and my friends have swapped books for years and it's one of the best ways to read more books without paying for them. I think it also makes you read books you might not have picked. There are often places you can swap books, there's a book swap area in my local bus station and a pub crammed with books where they're happy for you to do a swap. Have a look around I'm sure they'll be something similar in your area.

Do you have any tips for saving money on books?
Sam

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

5 Winter Clothing Essentials And Highstreet Wishlist

Hi, The weather is horrid, it's super windy and just constantly drizzling or pouring down. With this the temperature has dropped and now my mind has been cast towards thinking about statement pieces I could do with investing in for the winter months. I'd like to keep things simple with an emphasis on a capsule wardrobe to stop over spending on clothing. To do this I'm keeping it as monochrome as possible with burgundy as a pop of colour.

Winter Staple Clothing Items
Primark: Black Cape - £15.00 | Fluffy Coat - £25.00 | Fur Collar Coat - £20.00 | Scarf - £11.00
Jumper Shirt - £12.00 | Burgundy Jumper £12.00
H&M: Faux Fur Coat - £49.99 | Ripped Jeans - £29.99 | Felt Hat - £19.99 | Grey Cardigan - £14.99
Dr Martens: 1460 Purple Shimmer £110.00

 

Winter Clothing Essentials


Jeans/Trousers
It's colder so shorts and skirts are not the most practical item to be wearing unless you've got a super thick pair of tights. I'm totally still going to rock the ripped knee look no matter how cold my knees get but just having more fabric covering your skin will keep you much warmer.

Woolly Jumper
An essential item and one that I don't feel bad about indulging in a few different colours at least. Buying over sized jumpers makes for the most effortless and seasonal appropriate outfit you could wear.

Boots
A good sturdy pair of boots that are weather appropriate are a must for the colder months, they will keep you feet dry and warm. I always go back to my Dr Martens as they are stylish and super comfortable (after you break them in).

A Winter Coat
The item of clothing that will undoubtedly get the most wear during the colder months, unless you pick up a few. I'd love to pick up a faux fur coat but I really don't know if I could pull it off. When picking a coat make sure it's one that works with the rest of your wardrobe.

Hats, Scarf and Gloves
My favourite part of the colder months is getting wrapped up in a hat and scarf before leaving the house. Again pick something that compliments your wardrobe but there's nothing stopping you having a few choices. I've picked up the nicest monochrome fluffy scarf from Primark this year.

What is your Winter Staple Item?
Sam

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Monday, November 9, 2015

Lush Review | Frozen Bath Bomb

Hi, I finally got around to trying the Lush Frozen bath bomb so here is my review to share with you. This is the first product I've used from the Oxford Street range, it is now available nation wide. Even though it isn't from the Christmas range I think it fits in quite nicely with the winter theme. Obviously inspired by the Disney hit film 'Frozen' the tag line for the product is 'let it go' and who wouldn't with the princess perfect bath bomb.

Lush Review Frozen Bath Bomb

Frozen Bath Bomb - £3.95 


Frozen contains a mixture of Grapefruit, Neroli and Rose oil which are said to be uplifting for your mood. The visual display of this bath bomb is enough to melt anyone's frosty mood. Creating a deep blue colour within the water covered in a silver luster which makes the water magically sparkle. I really enjoyed this bath bomb the scent is rather subtle with a slight hint of citrus, I'm rubbish at explaining smells.



I tried to photograph the silver glitter but failed, this is a bath bomb you really need to try to see the true beauty of the swirling silver within the water. The bomb fizzes releasing the most intense blue/turquoise colour which I was really surprised about as the bomb isn't that pigmented. After my bath I still had glitter on my skin which I personally don't mind and makes me think that this is the perfect pre night out bath bomb. The bath did need a little washing down after to remove all the glitter but there was no stainage from the colour, which is always a bonus. All in all I think Frozen is now one of my favourite Lush products and I can't wait to pick up another one.

Have you tried Frozen?
Sam

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Innocent Big Knit For Age Uk

Hi, Today I wanted to talk about the Innocent Big Knit. I always forget about this charity event but it's one that I've been intrigued by in the past. I love all the little hidden jokes on the innocent bottles and the brand in general as their smoothies are just so good. So what is the big knit? well you know those little woolly hats that appear on all the little bottles of juice and look super cute, well that. Innocent ask that people make these little hats, even one hat will make a difference. So I'm going to dig out my knitting needles and give it a go. 

The Innocent Big Knit For Age Uk


The idea started in 2003 and has grown in popularity since, there have been over 5 million mini hats knitted in the past 12 years, raising over £1.7 million to help the older generation who's lives are at risk during the colder months of the year. For every hat sold along with a bottle of juice, innocent will donate 25p to Age UK. 

I'm not sure what to knit but there are some really nice instructions on the website for inspiration and simply to get you started. It's a great opportunity to learn a new skill while helping a charity. If you would like to take part there is more information on the website: www.thebigknit.co.uk. They require that all hats are received by 11th of December, so not the longest amount of time but enough for a few attempts.

Can you knit? will you be taking part?
Sam

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Month's Mini Goals | November

Hi, So it's November now, that means it's okay to get excited about Christmas right? But before that I'm super looking forward to all the fireworks this week. I haven't got any plans to go to an organized event but by taking a short drive from my home and you can see everyone's fireworks anyway, it's very hilly.

Momentarily Dreaming Monthly Mini Goals Novemeber

Mini Goals For November
  • Start Christmas Shopping
  • Work towards my book goal
  • Use Social Media more effectively
  • Take more photos
  • Go to the Cinemas
  • See some fireworks
  • Do some knitting
  • Buy some warmer clothes
  • Try a new flavor of tea
  • Do something out of my comfort zone

I want to make sure I'm making the most of the last few months of the year, I made a list of goals for 2015. I think something's I have already missed out on but I can still work on some.

What are your plans for November?
Sam

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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Monthly Highlights | October

Hi, HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I'm off out tonight to celebrate this ghoulish time of year and will most likely be feeling sorry for myself tomorrow. I've got a few films waiting for me to help me get through my day on the sofa. I think I've done pretty well with my monthly goals this time around. I can't wait for bonfire night now and then it's time to start Christmas shopping, I really want to be organized this year.



Mini goals for October 7/10
    1. Plan a fancy dress outfit for Halloween
    2. Buy some seasonal candle
    3. Do a Lush Haul
    4. Go conker hunting/seasonal walking
    5. Buy winter stuff for my car
    6. Wear something I have forgotten about
    7. Review a board game
    8. Do some more colouring
    9. Tidy my room
    10. Read as much as possible
      So I wouldn't say I've planned my Halloween costume but at least I have an idea of what I'm going as. I'm going to be face painting myself into the half skeleton, half pin up look. It's nice and simple and looks really effective.

      This month I treated myself to some Lush goodies along with a Yankee Candle called 'Fireside Treats' which smells amazing. I also picked up some bits for my car which I'm sure will be in use within a few weeks, deicer is so good for in the morning when you really can't be bothered to scrap off the ice.

      I didn't have time for colouring because I spent so much time reading. I managed to finish five books which is madness. I also did a game review for 'Cards Against Humanity' which seems to have gone down really well.

      Recap/Highlights

      Have a spooky weekend!
      Sam

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