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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      Thursday, October 29, 2015

      October Reading Roundup | Book Reviews

      Hi, This month I've read five books in total, four are reviewed here and the fifth 'Am I Normal Yet? was this months #Sassybooks choice, you can read the review here. I'm trying to read 35 books by the end of the year as a goal, I'm currently at 27. I want to try to find something festive themed to read in the coming months, any suggestions would be great.

      October Reading Round Up | Book Reviews


      How to Build a Girl

      Author - Caitlin Moran
      Page Count - 352
      First Published - 2015

      Set in the early 90's, Johanna Morrigan is a teenage girl who lives with her large family in an over crowded home, they claim benefits and struggle to get by. Johanna is over weight, dresses in hand me downs and humiliated herself on national TV. She wants to kill herself but not in the literal way, but to 'build a girl' and become someone new from the ashes of her previous self, this is when she created Dolly Wilde. She goes from socially awkward teenage to music critic to be reckoned with, the only noticeable difference in her is that she now wears makeup and top hat.

      I enjoyed the first third of this book and then I really lost interest. The setting up of the story was good and I wanted to know what was going to happen. Once the scene was set it was like the book just kept repeating. Johanna discovers alcohol and sex and becomes the ‘Lady Sex Adventurer’ this made for rather unpleasant reading, it wasn't so much the sex but how it was written. The book is covered in reviews saying how funny it is but I must have missed the joke. I don't think Johanna sounds like a teenager in her dialogue and as such I couldn't relate, her life seems one of someone much older than sixteen.

        Annihilation

        Author - Jeff VanderMeer
        Page Count - 208
        First Published - 2014

        Annihilation is the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy. The story is based on Area X, a supernatural area that appeared 30 years before. It's a misunderstood area where nature is claiming back the land, growing bigger all the time. A expedition group of an Anthropologist, a Surveyor, a Psychologist, and a Biologist, all female, make up the 12th expedition to Area X. The story is told from the perspective of a Biologist, who along with the other characters remains nameless.

        From the start it's obvious that not everything they have been told is true and that there was a lot of information left out. Not that it made much difference, they knew what they where getting themselves into. Previous expeditions either died, killed each other or returned a shell of their former selves. The writing style is designed to drip feed small amounts of information and keep you the reader in the dark about what is going on. Even now I've finished reading the book I'm not really any wiser to what is going on.

        To say this book was so small it was a real effort to finish. The scenery in the book is a little lacking in description to make me truly interested in the beauty of this unknown land. As a stand alone novel it feels unfinished, been a trilogy is this books saving grace. Even though I wasn't blown away by this book I'm interested to see what other secrets/developments take place in the next installment.

        October Reading Round Up | Book Reviews

        Station Eleven

        Author - Emily St. John Mandel
        Page Count - 384
        First Published - 2014

        The story starts on the night when Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a a performance of king leer. Less than a week after an endemic hits as the Georgian Flu starts to spread out of control. The first few chapter left me a little lost as to where the story was heading but by the end it all made sense

        The book tells the story of Arthur Leander before and after the outbreak, introducing you to other characters who survive the endemic and how life changes for them. There is a lot of time hoping and the story is told from a few different points of view which works so well in this story. The main focus for the after events after the outbreak is the Traveling Symphony, a group of survivors who try to keep Shakespeare and the preforming arts alive in a time of loss.

        I loved this book, I put it on my summer reading list and finally got around to reading it, it was worth the wait. The story makes you want to read chapter after chapter to see who will cross paths and what happens to the characters in the new world without electricity or pharmaceuticals.

        The Manifesto on How to be Interesting

        Author - Holly Bourne
        Page Count - 464
        First Published - 2014

        Brie is an avid story writer, her one true goal in life is to get some of her work published. Two novels later and a pile of rejection letters and she feels a little deflated with her chosen path. She talks to her English teacher about the issue and he suggests that maybe she needs to live her life more and become more interesting. This and the introduction to the concept of blogging leads to the creation of 'The Manifesto on How to be Interesting'.

        Bree is an outsider, she doesn't even have a close relationship with her own parents to the point that she doesn't know what her dad does for a living. She is well off and attends a private school. You'd think she'd be happy but she's not, self harm features regularly within this book. Bree changes her appearance and becomes friends with the popular kids, her goal to sabotage their popularity bubble and document it online for the world to see.

        I picked this book up after I enjoyed 'Am I Normal Yet?' so much, I don't think I enjoyed this quite as much as most of the bad things that happened to Bree where created by herself in the name of being interesting. I think there are element that are relate able but the story is a little farfetched at times. I finished it really quickly due to Holly's chatty writting style and I was genually drawn into the story.

        What have you been reading this month?
        Sam

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        Tuesday, October 27, 2015

        Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne | #Sassybooks October

        Hi, Another #Sassybooks review for you today, this month we read 'Am I Normal Yet?' by Holly Bourne. By some weird twist of fate I decided to read this book the week before it was announced as the choice for October. As a result this review has been patiently waiting a whole month to be published and I can't wait to share it with you. Don't forget to check out Charlotte's and Hayley's blogs for next month's book choice.

        Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne | #Sassybooks October


        Am I Normal Yet?

        Author - Holly Bourne
        Page Count - 448
        First Published - 2015

        The story is told from the perspective of Evie, a recovering sufferer of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The story joins her as she has come to terms with her mental health after receiving psychiatric help and has decided to try to come off her medication. Evie is about to start college and all she wants is to be normal and not the girl who went crazy. This starts her on a mission to be like everyone else 'Normal' doing what any other sixteen year old girl would do.

        The story reflects all elements of Evie's day to day life including school, home life and socializing but goes that step further when showing how Evie's mental health makes these normal situation a minefield of conflicting emotions and uncontrollable behavior. Sadly Evie's quest to be normal is her biggest down fall. At college Evie makes new friends and tries to hide her mental health from them thinking they will reject her if they know. This is complicated by the added element of boys, one in particular who I was left hating so much.

        One concept in the book I really enjoyed was the spinster club. A club Evie and her new friends create to talk about feminist issues, I thought this was a rather clever way of approaching such subjects maybe a little forced at time but it's great that such issues are being mentioned.

        I am a fan of young adult novels and this book did not disappoint. The story is pretty much what you would expect of the young adult genre with teens not making the best decisions on their quest to be more grown up. Written in a very conversational way, I found it quite easy to relate to the characters. There are also some really lovely elements of friendship, self discover and a strong message of self love running through out.

        This was a really compassionately written story which made me really connect with the characters and educated me, leaving me with a more informed insight into mental health. I read this book in a few sittings as I was totally drawn into the story. This is one of the best books I have read this year, so much so I made a point of reading more of Holly Bourne's work, which I will be reviewing shortly.

        Have you read this book?
        Sam

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        Sunday, October 25, 2015

        Game Review | Cards Against Humanity

        Hi, One of my monthly goals is to write a game review, so here it is. I wasn't sure which game to review so I decided to pick an easy one to start with. So this technically isn't a board game but it's super entertaining and more practical to take to a party. This game has a suggested age of 17+ due to the crude and explicit nature of some of the cards.

        Cards Against Humanity - A party game for horrible people
        Unlike most of the games you've played before,
        Cards Against Humanity is as awkward as you and your friends.

        Contents
        • One deck of white phrase cards
        • One deck of black question cards

        Aim Of the Game
        • To be the funniest and win the most rounds, how you do that totally depends on who you're playing with.

        Set Up
        • A multiple player game which can be enjoyed with both a small and large group of people, the box states 4-20 players.
        • The length of the game is set by the target number of winning answers, the less cards required to win the shorter the game should last.
        • Each player is dealt ten white phrase cards.
        • The black questions cards are put face down in a pile accessible to all players.


          How to Play
          • At the start of a round one player selects a black statement card and reads it to the other players.
          • The required number of phrase cards are then anomalously handed in by all players not including the question reader (Sometimes two cards are required to answer).
          • The funniest/crudest thing to complete the question card wins, down to the taste and humor of the reader of the black question card.
          • The winner is awarded an awesome point, this needs to be documented (I normally just keep the question card for the round won).
          • All players who used white phrase cards replenish their deck back to ten cards.
          • The next round starts with a new question reader.
          • This continues until someone wins enough rounds equal to the agreed finish target.

          Re-reading the instructions I found that there are a few twists on the basic game including cashing in awesome points to better your chances of winning later rounds. As the box states this is a cringe worthy game depending on who you play along with, it's maybe not one to play with your parents but that totally depends how twisted their minds are. It's a really simple game to play and one which can be a great ice breaker. I think it's funny to see just how far people will go with their card combinations or just how well some card work together.

          Have you played Cards Against Humanity?
          Sam

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            Wednesday, October 21, 2015

            GREAT SCOTT! It's Back to the Future Day

            Hi, Happy back to the future day! October 21st 2015 was the date that Doc Brown, Marty and Jennifer come to the future in the second film in the trilogy. As you may be able to tell I'm a pretty big fan and it's so weird to think that all the films after today will be set in the past.


            I don't remember how old I was when I first saw Back to the Future but it made it's mark. The character are so good together and the story is original, so much so that no one dared to produce it for ages until Universal took on the project. Today has been a really good one with songs from the film been played on the radio and almost everyone either reporting about 'Back to the Future' day or having a little joke online about speeding Delorean's. It's been really interesting to see what predictions for the future have really come true, sadly still no hover boards. It's a nice feeling when people get their geek on for a film even if they're not the biggest fan, it is after all a date which has been a long time coming and so couldn't pass unnoticed. It's also the 30th anniversary of the first film been released.

             I'm off to build my Lego Delorean while watching the Keith Lemon's 'back to the future' documentary, which I'm hoping will be really funny.
            Sam

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            Monday, October 19, 2015

            Asda Homeware Wishlist

            Hi, hope you had a lovely weekend. I've been wrapped up trying to get over this cold. It's not so bad as the weekend was spent doing loads of reading, enjoying baths and browsing the home ware sections online. While browsing I came across some really nice pieces on the Asda website, it's one place I've never thought to look at before. I mainly shop at Aldi or Morrisons just because they are the closest food shops where I live, so I forgot that supermarkets do good home ware selections.

            ASDA HOMEWARE WISHLIST AUTUMN/WINTER 2015


            Terrarium £10 | Knitted Pouffe £39 | Arrow Light £30 | Potpourri £4
            Constellation Coasters £4 | Checked Throw £10 | Cushion £4

            I've picked items with the season in mind and some pieces because they are on trend and I really like them. Terrariums are all over the place at the moment so this one is quite a bargain from what I've seen. They are great to plant up a succulent or you can fill them with fairy lights for a cute lamp.

            I've picked orange tones for the throw and cushion which makes me imagine nights wrapped up in front of an open fire, I can dream right? I'm all for bringing the outdoors in at this time of year, so I've picked the potpourri which is orange and cinnamon scented which sounds so good. I'd put this on a display plate with a few pillar candles or use them to maybe make a festive wreath.

            I'm really liking these knitted pouffes, they're a great way to add an extra texture into a room and an extra seating option for when you've got extra people round. The arrow lamp is a nice quirky piece that would be really cool to have sat on a shelf. Lastly are the constellation coasters, I've picked these because I think stars are pretty and I like the graphic look of the design with the harsh black.

             What's your must have piece of home ware for this time of year?
            Sam

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            Thursday, October 15, 2015

            9 Things To Do When Your Are Bored

            Hi, The nights are drawing in and getting darker and darker by the day. The clocks go back at the end of the month giving us a tiny bit of extra light but not for long. Because of this I find it very hard to motivate myself and then the boredom hits. I've found myself feeling a lot less bored since I've started blogging but here are some alternative ideas to beat the boredom this season.


            Things To Do When You Are Bored


            Play a Board/Card Game
            There are so many different kinds of board games there's no reason you can't find one that you love to play. Board games can either kill a few minuets or a few hours depending on what you play. They're also a great way to socialize with friends and family so why not have a games night and invite people over.

            Do Some Baking
            Baking is a great way to pass the time and at the end of your boredom fix you'll have something super yummy to enjoy. Buns are one of the easiest things to bake and you get the added enjoyment of decorating them as well.

            Read a Book
            This is my favourite way to dispel boredom. I can easily lose myself in a book for a few hours at a time when the weather outside isn't very welcoming.

            Go for a Walk
            When the weather is nicer head outdoors and get a dose of nature, it's really good for you. You get a top up of the sun's rays, fresh air and a change of scenery from being stuck indoors. You also have the chance to enjoy a warming drink in the cooler air and take a shoe selfie in the fallen leaves.

            Tidy Up
            This is kind of a boring option in itself but one which will make you fell amazing after. If you're already bored you've got nothing to lose and a clean area will make you feel so much better in the long run. Pick a small task so you don't regret starting, maybe do something like change the bed sheets because you'll thank yourself later.

            Plan Your Weekly Meals
            Not only does this give you something to do but will save you money in the long run. I enjoy planning my weekly meals as everything is so much more organised for the week ahead, from not having to think of something on the spot and knowing exactly what you need to buy at the shop, making the buying process much quicker.

            Phone Someone
            One thing that I should actually make time to do anyway. Be social without having to leave the comfort of the sofa. Catch up with a friend and maybe even make plans for the future to stop yourself from getting bored at a later date.

            Organise a Space
            Now is the perfect time to have a change in layout around the home. I'm currently trying to make my bedroom more autumnal and get ready for the festive season which will soon be upon us. Freshening up your living space will make you feel better about your environment and might even require you to do a little home ware shopping.

            Start a Hobby
            Blogging is a great hobby but not one for everyone. There are loads of creative hobbies which are perfect to keep you entertained during the darker months. Why not take up knitting or crochet and make yourself some woolly winter wear. Scrap book your holiday snaps and reminisce about the summer sunshine or create some Christmas decorations to display during the festivities.

             So there you have it, my boredom busting tips. Hope they are helpful, thanks for reading.
            Sam

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            Tuesday, October 13, 2015

            The One Lovely Blog Award

            Hi, Just to let you know it might be a little quiet on my blog as I've got a horrid cold and just can't get my brain to work, but I'm trying my best. That aside I was really cheered up when I found that Moanymouse had nominated me for the 'One Lovely Blog Award', her blog is also rather lovely so you should go check it out. I know some people aren't always a fan of these chains but I love them because I think they are a great way for people to find new blogs to enjoy. So on to the award, I tried to research a little about this award but I couldn't really find any info on it's origin.


            Award Rules
            • Thank the person who nominated you & provide a link to their blog.
            • List the rules and display the award.
            • State seven facts about yourself.
            • Nominate 5-10 bloggers for the award and leave a comment on one of their posts to let them know. 

            Seven Facts About Me
            1. I am really good at saving and been generally thrifty, I enjoy watching my money grow more than I enjoy spending it.
            2. I studied Art at University, I now work doing something vaguely artistic but my degree didn't help me get the job.
            3. I was a massive Sonic the Hedgehog fan as a kid, I'm talking Sega Sonic the original and the best.
            4. I am a Pisces, I'm not super into horoscopes but I do like to read them out of interest now and again.
            5. I'm 26 and I still don't feel like a grown up, I doubt I ever really will.
            6. I'm afraid of falling signage, like the giant letters on the front of buildings. (A little weird maybe? but it happens).
            7. I think the sun is the prettiest in the winter when you crave it more, on one of those really crisp winters days where it seems unnaturally bright.
            Now for my Nominations!

            Patti - Shiftingtales
            Hannah - inthelifeofhan
            Megan - Megan Jean
            Bethany - Curly and Wordy
            Sarah - Sarah Eliza
            Georgia - Love On The Wall
            Leonni - Leonni's Little Blog

            The blogs I have nominated are either quite new to me or ones I read a lot, I hope you find a new favourite. Have a lovely day!
            Sam

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            Friday, October 9, 2015

            A Little Lush Haul

            Hi, Last Sunday I went shopping with my sister in Leeds. We had a lovely time and the sun stayed out so I got to wear my denim jacket for probably the last time this year. One of the places I wanted to visit the most was the Lush store. Last year Lush Leeds relocated into a bigger retail space, with this selling an even bigger range of products. I was shocked by just how busy the store was, with that in mind, it was quite difficult to see everything. I picked up some really nice things, so here's a little haul as I wanted to share what I picked up with you.

            I avoided the themed ranges as the store was just too busy and I didn't want to go crazy and spend too much if I could help it. In total I picked up three bath bombs (two of which are new releases) and my all time favourite Lush product the Brightside bubble bar. The bath bombs I choose where Big Blue, Frozen and Intergalactic making my purchase quite a blue themed one. I will be doing full reviews on these products once I've used them.

            Brightside - £4.95
            I haven't tried that many Lush products, I'm a creature of habit and like what I like. This product has never disappointed me and this must be the 5th bar I've bought. It smells of citrus and creates so many bubbles (the advantage of this product over a bath bomb). I did a full review of this product here. 

            Big Blue - £3.50
            This product makes me feel like a mermaid. An old favourite which is inspired by the sea. The product contains Arame Seaweed, which softens in the water. I know the idea of seaweed isn't to every ones taste but everyone should try this bath bomb at least once. The seaweed works to help regulate the metabolism and there is sea salt to soften the skin.


            Frozen - £3.95
            The lovely sales assistant showed us this bath bomb in action. If I wasn't already planing on picking this one up I'd have been sold as soon as the silver luster erupted. It made the water such a lovely shade of blue and there was so much glitter. When you read the description of this bomb on the website it sounds absolutely magical, it's a blatant rip off of Disney's 'Frozen' which is an even bigger reason to love it.

            Intergalactic - £3.95
            I'm hoping this bomb will make a decent replacement for the Space Girl bath bomb which is now discontinued. Intergalactic from what I can tell is all about the show of colour as it releases different colours into the water. I need to remember to have my camera ready for this one. This one contains gold luster, so yet more glitter.

            Have you been to Lush lately?
            Sam

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            Wednesday, October 7, 2015

            5 Things I Can Not Do

            Hi, Happy hump day! Something different for you today, a little personal post about some of the things that I can not do. None of these are serious things, I've just put the list together for a bit of fun. These are the first things that come to mind, I'm sure there are loads more but I'll save them for another day.


            Things I Can Not Do

            Draw from my mind
            Do you know when you have an amazing visual in your mind that you want to get out on paper in a perfect translation, well that never happens for me (I'm sure it's actually impossible, but my attempts are not even close). I can only draw if I have an image to copy which annoys me greatly, but I am super appreciative that I have any artist skill.

            Speak a different language
            I struggle with English most of the time and I'm constantly checking my there, their and they're (but who isn't). I had German classes in high school but nothing stuck. I'm just grateful that English is my first language and that it is spoken by most of the world. I'd love to speak another language but it just isn't going to happen.

            Not get stressed when packing/planning
            I can't help it! I don't think I'm even that bad at getting things organized, I just always panic about silly little things, even when everything works out fine. It's something I would really like to work on and I'm sure I'm not alone on this one.

            Go a week without cheese
            This might be a bit of an odd statement but cheese is one of my favourite foods ever. I can leave chocolate and other sweet things, it's all about the savory for me and cheese goes well with so many things.

            Go up really high places
            This developed in my early 20's, high places trigger a kind of survival instinct that tells me I'm in danger and I'm overcome with an irrational fear. It's so annoying as the best views are always in high places, but I'm not letting it become an issue.

            Is there anything you can not do?
            Sam

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            Monday, October 5, 2015

            Why We Need To Fight The Microbead

            Hi, Today I'm talking about the issue of Microbeads in our beauty products. These microscopic pieces of plastic are added to beauty products as an exfoliating aid, bizarrely even in products that contain a natural exfoliant anyway. These plastics aren't always adding anything extra to the product, just bulking it up to make the product cheaper to produce.


            The issue with these Microbeads is that they are entering into the food chain. Tiny marine life are eating these microscopic piece of plastic thinking they are a tasty treat unable to tell the difference between them and other natural marine food. These tiny marine animals are then been eaten by bigger and bigger fish until inevitably they end up on our own plates. I believe scientists are currently trying to work out if there will be long term damage and whether the plastics are toxic in the long run, but personally I'd rather do my bit to stop the ever growing problem now.

            To see if a product you are using or intend on buying doesn't contain these harmful plastics you can use this dedicated website: www.beatthemicrobead.org

            Types of plastic in products
            • Polyethylene (PE)
            • Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
            • Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA)
            • Polypropylene (PP)
            • Nylon

            Today in England single use plastic bags will now be chargeable at the price of 5p per bag to try and stop the over use of plastic (already happening in Scotland and wales). I won't feel the effect of this too badly as I shop in Aldi where they already charged for bags. The change only applies to chains which employ over 250 full time employees but it's a step in the right direction. So if you're off shopping make sure you take your own bags if you don't want to incur extra charges. All the money made from the sales of the plastic bags will be going to charity so it's kind of a win win situation.

            Will you make the switch to plastic free products?
            Sam

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            Thursday, October 1, 2015

            Month's Mini Goals | October

            Hi, I'm so excited for the Halloween/Bonfire season. After I've written this I'm off to research all the local bonfires so I can go see a really good firework display. I'm going out for Halloween and it's been that long I'm already excited, just need to work out what to wear. My goals are very seasonal, but it's hard to ignore the change in temperature. At least with the cooler weather comes some of the best seasonal events.


            Mini goals for October
            • Plan a fancy dress outfit for Halloween - I'm really after trying out some face paint.
            • Buy some seasonal candles - I need a cinnamon fix.
            • Do a Lush Haul - Well if I'm going to buy the store, I better share it with you.
            • Go conker hunting/seasonal walking - I need to make the most of the season before it's freezing.
            • Buy winter stuff for my car - I always forget! I need anti freeze as well as other items.
            • Wear something I have forgotten about - Pushing myself to make the most of my wardrobe.
            • Review a board game - I own too many for them to not feature on my blog.
            • Do some more colouring - because it's super relaxing.
            • Tidy my room - Once again it's a mess.
            • Read as much as possible - I've read 20 books so far this year and would love to see how many I can read before the end.

            What are you dressing up as for Halloween, I need some inspiration?
            Sam

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