Saturday, April 30, 2016

Monthly Highlights | April


Hi, We're a third of the way through 2016, that's kind of a scary fact, this year is going so fast. April has been a rather uneventful month, I can't think of anything exciting that took place. I think the weather needs a mention, when was the last time you remember snow in April? It's been on and off for a week following a taster of summer. I guess the UK weather has no idea what look it's going for or the time of year.
Mini goals for April 7/10
  • Write a personal post
  • Make some art
  • Eat better
  • Do something new
  • Read three books
  • Keep up the regular blogging
  • Treat myself to some new clothes
  • Take part in an Instagram challenge
  • Have a date night
  • Plan a trip away

I set myself a lot of goals that required dedication and that seems to be something I was missing this month. I've crossed off the Instagram challenge because I did take part but only until about day 18 and then I lost my momentum and struggled to find an interest. The same seems to be apparent for my blog with a lack of posts for a whole week. I've got loads of ideas but not the self confidence to actually publish them which created a bit of an issue and a lack of posts.

On a happier note I did complete my reading goal and topped it by reading four books, my reviews will be live on the 3rd of May. I've also ticked off 'write a personal post', I've not posted it yet because of the fore mentioned confidence issue but it's scheduled so keep a look out for it. I've booked a trip to London for mid July and I can't wait, the focus of the trip is to go to Hyper Japan.

I didn't do anything new and I didn't do any art which are things I think I'll carry onto next month because they are things I'd like to do at some point. I bought so many clothes and I'd love to share them with you. I basically bought the whole of Primark because well it's so cheap, I even picked up some Pikachu socks. I didn't have a date night as such but I did go out with the fellow and his mate for a meal and a few drink which was a nice change. Lastly I've been trying to eat better and I think I managed it, I need to share some recipes with you, let me know if that's something your interested in.

Recap/Highlights

I hope you had a really great month, let me know what you've been up to!
Sam

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling | #Sassybooks April

Hi, I'm back with another #Sassybooks review. This month we decided to read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone which I think for the majority of us is a re-read. Don't forget to check out Charlotte's and Hayley's blogs for next month's book choice.



Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Author - J.K. Rowling
Page Count - 223
First Published - 1997

I have mixed feeling about re-reading this book, I can't remember when I got into Harry Potter but I think the third book was released so quite late in the game really. I originally read these books via copies from the library, funnily enough they didn't have any of the kids covers left so I checked out the adult versions, which had much moodier cover artwork. I think the Harry Potter series was the first set of books within the fantasy genre I read and made me truly fall for the characters and the world they occupied. The fact they are fantasy is really minimal and the books reflect a lot of parallels between the two worlds so it's really easy to relate too. Please don't judge me on this really dog eared copy of Harry Potter, my mum bought it for my sister hoping that Harry Potter would be the book to get her into reading but nope.


On to the story, so you'll already know it unless you've lived under a rock the past 19 years, if that's the case here's a summary. Harry Potter is a young boy who thinks he is as ordinary as they come and has been dealt a bad hand in life, he lives with his Uncle and Aunt in the cupboard under the stairs after his parents untimely death. On Harry's eleventh birthday he finally receives his letter of acceptance to Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry and that’s when things get interesting. This book will be 20 next year, when did my childhood become so distant I would have been 8 when the first book came out. This book of just over 200 pages is where it all began, the ignition spark for the flame that set the nation a light for the wizarding world and it has a lot to answer for with all the people awaiting their letter to Hogwarts. Harry, Ron and Hermione will forever be a big part of a generation of kids lives.

My mixed feelings come form the fact that on re-reading this book I've found that the film has altered my memory on what happened and there where characters all over the place I wasn't expecting, which was rather amusing. I felt that the language of the book was a lot simpler than I remember, but I totally get why as I was a young kid when I first read this book and I'm sure that was Rowling's intention. The stories along with the characters gain experience and become so much moodier along the time line and my most recent memories are of the last books. With that said I truly enjoyed the experience of indulging back into my childhood and the plan is to continue re-reading the rest of the Harry Potter series.

Have you ever re-read the Harry Potter series?
Sam

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Spring TBR Wishlist

Hi, I've got to a point in the year where I'm not really sure what to read next. I decided to put together a collection of titles currently on my to be read list to remind myself of the books I'd like to read and share them with you. There is a bit of a theme within my choices that all the main characters are  female teenagers or younger.


 The Girl With All The Gifts
Author - M.R. Carey
Page Count - 460
First Published - 2014

My mum bought me this book for my birthday so I had no idea what it was about. After some research and review reading I've found it to be a new take on the Zombie idea which I'm super excited to read. I've been wanting something Zombie related to fill the void that is the walking dead. Melanie is a child zombie, she can learn and is affectionate towards others. Melanie is special but she's not alone, everyday she and her fellow classmates are tied into their chairs ready for class. I'm not really sure where the story goes but I'm excited to find out.

Seed
Author - Lisa Heathfield
Page Count - 336
First Published - 2015

I've seen a few reviews by book bloggers about Seed and it sounded like a book I would enjoy. Pearl is a young girl living within a small community. She gets her first period, which means she is considered a woman and awaits becoming one of Papa S's many companions. Life goes on until one day a new family arrive, with them a young boy and answers to questions Pearl never thought to ask. This seems very much like a cult based story and the idea that you can manipulate people to believe your version of the truth. I'm very much look forward to reading this to see how truly dark it could get.

How Hard Can Love Be
Author - Holly Bourne
Page Count - 480
First Published - 2016

I read Holly Bourne's work for the first time last year and loved her writing style, it's rare that I want to sit and read a book in one sitting and this book very nearly made me do just that. I reviewed 'Am I Normal Yet' last year, I was happy to find that this book is a continuation of the same group of friends Amber, Evie and Lottie. Where the previous story was about Evie this time it's Amber's turn to be in the spotlight.The subject for this story in comparison to Holly's previous story doesn't seem as gritty but I want to read it for her conversational writing style more than anything else.

 Asking For It
Author - Louise O'Neill
Page Count - 346
First Published - 2015

This is not a book for younger readers although it is of the young adult genre. The story is about a girl who wakes from a party with no memory of the previous night, she was raped and the story follows the aftermath. I reviewed Louise O'Neill's 'Only Ever Yours' last year and loved how hard hitting and thought provoking it was so I really want to see if I love this as much. I'm sure the subject matter will be a painful read but it's great to see harder subject matter being written about.


I'm always looking for recommendations, what have you been reading recently?
Sam

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Friday, April 15, 2016

10 Nighttime Rituals For A Better Nights Sleep

Hi, The inspiration for this post came about the other night when I just couldn't switch off. Eventually my mind finally stopped twittering on about stuff that really didn't matter and I fell asleep but way over an hour and a half later than I had wanted to be. Needless to say I was a bit tired the following morning and that got me thinking about ways I may be able to improve my sleep in future.

Nighttime Rituals For A Better Nights Sleep


Have A Nighttime Schedule
I've put this point first as I think it's the most important. Have a schedule that you can stick too as much as possible, by doing this your body will naturally know when it's time to go to sleep. The schedule doesn't have to start at getting into bed you can plan your night around things you want to get done or plan time for relaxing. The key is to make time for what you want.

Make Sure You're Comfortable
There are a few factors which can stop you from getting the sleep you deserve based purely on comfort. Making sure the room isn't too hot when possible and dressing accordingly can help. When the seasons change think about coordinating your bedding to maximize comfort.

Do Some Light Exercise
This is something I would love to add into my nightly routine. It's not advised to do full on exercise on a evening but light stretches in the form of Yoga or a bit of meditation are great ways to wind down at the end of the day.

Midnight Feasts Are Not Your Friend
Avoid eating too late in the evening and don't be fooled into thinking alcohol helps sleep. You might get to sleep a little easier but the quality of sleep is effected and you're likely to wake in the night unable to get back to sleep.

Look After Yourself
Make sure you've done all the necessary things like brushing your teeth and removing your makeup, you'll feel a lot fresher for it. A nice relaxing bath will help you unwind and a bit of a pamper is great for positivity.

Plan Ahead
Where possible plan as much in advance for the following day to remove the issues from the mind. You could plan your outfit or make a packed lunch, anything that will help make the morning more relaxed and in turn remove the stress.

Avoid Screen Time
If you are going to watch a film do it with plenty of time before you plan to sleep and avoid using phones and other screen based gadgets. These forms of entertainment activate the mind and make it hard for us to fall asleep.

Keep The Bedroom Tidy
If one room in your home should be Pinterest worthy it's your bedroom. Make sure it's clear of clutter or anything that gets the mind going like letters that need filing. It should be a relaxed environment which your mind associates with sleep.

Try Not To Worry
I know this is easier said than done, but I know from experience that what ever my mind thinks up is always way worse than the reality. If you can't sleep due to things whizzing about in the mind make lists to remove these issues for the time being, you can deal with them later. Another issue is watching the time pass when you can't drift off, remove any clocks and don't be tempted to check the time, it will only make you feel worse.

Read
Lastly reading is always a great way to end the day and will help you sleep. You don't have to be a book worm to read before bed, a short story or a poem or even a selection of quotes will be helpful. Try to pick something filled with positivity as it is great for the mind just before sleep.
   
Do you have any tips for a better nights sleep?
Sam

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Lush Review | Honey Bee Bath Bomb

Hi, I popped into my local Lush the other day with the intention of picking up some long standing Lush products that I've previously over looked with the intention of reviewing them. One of the products I picked up was the Honey Bee bath bomb.

Lush Honey Bee Bath Bomb Review

Honey Bee Bath Bomb - Take the Sting Out


At £3.50 this is one of the cheaper bath bombs in the Lush range, it contains a mixture of Honey, Aloe Vera and Rhassoul mud to create a wonder trio of calming and antiseptic properties. The aesthetic of the bomb is pleasing as I can picture a little face on this and it would look just like a bee with the clever use of strips of colour. The scent of Honey Bee is sweet and fresh, I was thinking of food when I sniffed it and realised that was the honey I could smell.

Lush Honey Bee Bath Bomb Review


The water turns to a shade of amber reminiscent of honey as the bomb slowly dissolves. Honey Bee took ages to disappear completely and on inspection there where weird little lumps within the bomb which I can only think was how they incorporate the clay into the mix. Honey Bee was surprisingly softening on my skin which I think was down to the added clay.

The scent seems to get stronger once added to the water and lingers for a long time. The overall appearance of the Honey Bee bath bomb in use isn't that amazing, there is some fizzing but that's your lot. The colour is questionable but what I expected from the colour of the bath bomb itself. The clay residue required cleaning from the bath afterwards which was something I wasn't expecting. I enjoyed Honey Bee but I don't think it will be a regular purchase.

Have you tried the Lush Honey Bee bath bomb?
Sam

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Saturday, April 9, 2016

Trying Something New | Apple and Elderflower Whittard Tea

Hi, When I visited York we stopped off in the Whittard tea shop. The boyfriend was looking for a posh tea brew and told me to pick something for myself as a Birthday treat. I'm normally a green tea drinker and decided to pick something a little sweeter opting for this blend of Apple and Elderflower.




Whittard No.13
Apple and Elderflower Flavoured Fruit infusion
25 teabags - £5.00

'A richly rustic blend with autumnal flavours of apple, elderflower and a rustle of rose'

I'm so glad I chose this tea as it's something different and so so yummy. The packaging makes me feel like I'm having something really special. All the teabags are individually wrapped for freshness. You can also buy this as a loose tea blend but I figured bags where less messy if I take them to work. It takes 3-5 minuets to brew to it's full potential and turns the most vivid shade of red. I'm not a brand snob and generally always buy supermarket own brand so this was a nice change. The bags work out at only 20p each, which doesn't sound like much but would get expensive over along period of time. I think these boxes would make a lovely gift for the tea lovers in your life.

What's your favourite flavour of tea?
Sam

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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

8 Things I Love About Spring

Hi, The transitional seasons are by far my favourite times of the year. Autumn is my all time favourite but I enjoy Spring just as much for very different reasons. Spring is the sign of new beginnings and good things to come.



8 Things I Love About Spring

1. Longer Lighter Days
There is nothing better than finishing work and it still being light. It makes a huge difference driving home in daylight. I need all the Vitamin D I can get so the extra sunshine is very welcome. I feel like I can get a lot more done now and I no longer want to go to sleep at eight in the evening.

2. Flowers
After the lack of flowers over the Winter months the sight of bright happy flowers everywhere is so refreshing. My favourite type of flower is Daffodils for this very reason. They always pop up like magic with the turn in the weather.

3. Baby Animals
There are new baby animals every where, I really want to go visit the local open farm to see all the lambs and piglets. If you need a dose of cute spring is definitely the time to get it.

4. Warmer Weather
I love wearing hats and scarfs but it's refreshing to not need them to keep the chill away. After all spring is transitional and a sign we're heading in the right direction for the warmer Summer months but that slight temperature increase is so welcome.

5. New Clothes
I know I have way too many clothes already but a change in the season is all the excuse I need to stock up on some new items. Mainly flat shoes and new T-shirts that I've worn out in the past months. It's always nice to have a few items that reflect current trends or to mix up your colour pallet. 

6. Fresh Air
I like to sleep with the window open and have the fresh air circulating. In the Winter it's just too cold to keep a window open for more than a few minuets without making your home hit the minus numbers. With the slight temperature increase during the day I can finally air out my room.

7. The Promise of Summer
Each season is great for different reasons and Spring is a great reminder that Summer is on the way and then holidays will be taking place. I can't wait to go camping and read a mountain of books while having a technology break, so relaxing.

8. Extra Motivation
It's true that the Winter months can take it out of you mentally and the dose of sunshine that Spring brings is just the thing for the extra motivation and happiness kick I needed.


What is your favourite part of Spring?
Sam

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Sunday, April 3, 2016

Reading Roundup | March Book Reviews

Hi, I've decided to move my book reviews to the start of the following month so I've got a bit more time to finish books before I review them. This month I read three books one of which took forever. I have a guilty pleasure for young adult novels and dystopian themes so that is very much true of this months choices.

Book Review: Allegiant, Panic and The fire sermon




March Reading Roundup - Year Book Count 7

Allegiant
Author - Veronica Roth
Page Count - 526
First Published - 2013

I read Divergent and Insurgent last month and couldn't wait to finish the trilogy. I can't really go into the story without dropping loads of spoilers. I can honestly say that although it's not my favourite trilogy it's one that deserves respect and dam the ending. I've read some reviews of people picking away at the whole faction system stating the story is full of plot holes but I don't feel that way. I think the story answered all the questions I had and progressed in a way that kept me hooked and wanting to read more. I think the whole trilogy could have included more theory but it's fine just the way it is. I'm looking forward to watching the films now to compare.

Panic
Author - Lauren Oliver
Page Count - 408
First Published - 2014

This book was nothing like what I expected from the blurb, I'd got the totally wrong idea that 'Panic' was something the characters where forced to do, I re-read the blurb after and it makes total sense.

The book features a group of senior year students who opt into play 'Panic' everyone has to pay into the prize pot so why not play for the cash prize if you're brave enough. The story is told from split perspectives of Heather and Dodge, giving two sides to the story and the different motives people have for playing. The tasks are dangerous and dumb but that's the point. The senior year students come from a no hope town and winning 'Panic' and the lump sum of money is seen as the only way they will ever get the chance to leave.

I enjoyed the story, I could totally see why Panic exists and why people play by how desperate the character where to leave their dead end town. It seems daft to risk your life for money but the characters see the alternative option as not really a life either. The only thing that I was disappointed about with this story was I knew the ending, I knew how things would end right at the beginning. The journey of the story was great but I kind of hoped for a plot twist that never came.

The Fire Sermon*
Author - Francesca Haig
Page Count - 432
First Published - 2015

A dystopian Young Adult novel featuring a time when everyone is born with a twin, one an Alpha (perfect in every way) and the other an Omega (deformed either physically or mentally). The twins are separated at birth and brought up in very different ways, the only thing that the twins will share is their death.

The story is about Cass, a special type of omega as she is a seer. Due to this uncommon difference she can hide her powers which make splitting herself and brother Zach impossible. Over time Zach becomes bitter because of the shunned life he leads along side his sister, wishing to take on his full Alpha rights. He tricks Cass into revealing her true nature and life changes drastically. An outcast from her own family she joins other omega's but finds no comfort from them, as they are wary of seers. Life goes on until one day Cass is captured and imprisoned under orders from her estranged brother. Turns out he's made a name for himself within the counsel and he's trying to protect himself by keeping Cass stored away. 

The story develops and missions and truths form to make a good overall story that just takes a little bit too long to progress at times. On reflection it was a long read but one I enjoyed, I'm looking forward to the next installment which I believe is out in July. Plus look at the cover, isn't that a pretty book.

Have you set yourself a reading goal?
Sam

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*These books where won via a Goodreads Giveaway

Friday, April 1, 2016

Monthly Mini Goals - April

Hi, We're already in the fourth month of the year, where does the time go. I feel better for the lighter nights and the promise of summer just around the corner. I don't have anything planned for the month ahead so hopefully it will be full of lovely unexpected things. I really missed writing these posts, I find them so inspirational for those times when I'm in procrastination mode.

Monthly mini Goals

Mini goals for April
  • Write a personal post
  • Make some art
  • Eat better
  • Do something new
  • Read three books
  • Keep up the regular blogging
  • Treat myself to some new clothes
  • Take part in an Instagram challenge
  • Have a date night
  • Plan a trip away

I struggled to think of ten things to aim for this month but I got there and I'm really happy with my goals this month. With nothing much planned for my time it seems like a great reason to do something creative, it's been so long. I've been seeing all the weaved wall hangings and would really like to have a go at making one. I'd also like to get more into Instagram, I find it hard to think of subject matter. I'm planning on joining in with an Instagram challenge run by Meggan for the month of April. There are daily prompts to follow, for more information check out her Instagram @cardiganjezebel.

On the theme of my blog I want to do a personal themed post so you, my lovely readers, can get to know a little more about me (any suggestions?). I'd really like to get back to posting more often but I lack time management, so it's a work in progress, I just want to keep up what I'm doing now. I'm really shocked by my reading progress, I'm reading much faster now so I'm ahead of my Goodreads challenge which means I can opt for some bigger story's (Game of Thrones).

Spring is here and Summer not far off so I really need some new items of clothing to replace worn out things and filter in a few style focused pieces. A day out with the sister should remedy this and I'm sure we'll end up in Lush too. I want to start eating healthier, I'm not bad I just snack a lot on weekends, it would be nice to find some healthy snack alternatives. I'd like to plan a date night, maybe a meal and then the cinema, something to get me out of the house really. The 'do something new' is a bit of a wild card and I'll see if anything fits the bill at the end of the month. I'd like to plan a trip so even if I'm not doing anything this month I've got something in the future to look forward too.

What will you be doing this month, would you join an Instagram challenge?
Sam

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