Sunday, 29 May 2016

2016 READING RECAP NO.3


Another Reading Recap post for you today. I feel like I've not been doing many book related posts recently and that makes me sad because it's one of my favourite things to write about. I'm making it my goal for the next month to get more book related posts up, I want to write more reviews and anything else I can think of! I've read 21 books so far this year which means I'm on track with my Goodreads challenge, I would like to get a bit further ahead, but sometimes it's difficult to find the time to read.

The Book of Strange New Things - Michel Faber
Peter, a man of faith, is sent on a mission to another planet to share the teachings of the Bible. He ends up galaxies away from his wife Bea and working for a corporation he knows very little about. His relationship with his wife soon becomes strained and he struggles to deal with his new duties. The basis of the story I really enjoyed, it's a fascinating idea and I instantly felt sympathetic to both characters. I do think the story was maybe a little too long, and I found myself skipping over the highly religious sections. I don't think it was intentionally preachy I just think Faber was trying to cram a lot of information in which didn't work that well for me.
4/5

The Happiness Project - Gretchen Rubin
Self help books aren't my thing and I'm not sure why I was drawn to this book other than the sale in the kindle store! It documents Gretchen Rubin's journey to being happier which takes place over a year, and each month she focuses on a different aspect of her life. I quite liked the idea of concentrating on one thing at a time and not overwhelming yourself, but a lot of the things she did in the book just seemed a little obvious... It was a quick read and I'm not sure I really gained any helpful advice!
2/5

Quicksand - Steve Toltz
Quicksand is about two friends, Liam a cop and failing writer and Aldo an entrepreneur who's projects never seem to go quite right, leaving Liam to pick up the pieces. At first I really enjoyed the book, it was funny, odd and the characters were endearing but I did slowly got bored. It's written in a way that jumps around different time zones which can be quite confusing and it meant I never really got to grips with what was going on. I feel like it could have been better...
2/5

The Vegetarian - Han Kang
I read The Vegetarian just before it won the Man Booker International Prize and it was in all the media. Yeong-hye suddenly decides to stop eating meat and the book tells the dramatic response from various members of her family and how everything begins to fall apart. It seems extreme but it's set in a part of the world where people follow strict paths; it's actually quite normal. I think I read this book in one sitting, I just have a soft spot for middle eastern fiction and the style of writing. It's a really intriguing story and I'd definitely recommend it.
4/5

Public Library and other stories - Ali Smith
I wrote a full review of this, here, a few weeks ago so I'll try not to be too repetitive. A set of short stories all around the theme of literature, the media and our relationship to public resources like parks or libraries. Between each short story is an anecdote from Ali Smith or someone she knows about the importance of libraries and the affect they have on communities. I found these anecdotes particularly interesting especially in a time where the library system is in turmoil. The short stories were good but perhaps not as memorable.
4/5

Wind Pinball - Haruki Murakami
I am writing a full review of this book which will be up in a few days so I don't want to spoil that too much! This is the first publication in the UK and English translation of Murakami's first ever stories. Set around the same two characters at different times in their life, they are surreal as you'd expect and just a bit odd... I enjoyed reading them to see where Murakami started but they didn't impress me that much.
3/5

Northern Lights - Philip Pullman
This was actually a re-read because I've loved Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy since I was a child. I've never re-read the books though and it has been interesting to see all the scenes I'd completely forgotten about! There are so many aspects I didn't remember, although it did come flooding back to me as I went, and I loved the story just as much as the first time. I'm looking forward to getting started on the rest of the trilogy!
5/5

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Friday, 27 May 2016

TEN THINGS I'M GRATEFUL FOR


I've been feeling a bit down lately, just life things getting on top of me. Nothing serious but I get myself into a bit of a slump where I don't want to do anything or see anyone. Then I end up eating crappy food which makes me feel ten times worse... So I thought to counteract that I'd write down ten things that I'm grateful for. These lists always put things into perspective for me and make me realise that actually things aren't that bad. Obviously it's normal to feel down sometimes but it's also important to remember all the good things and how lucky I am.

1. I have a lovely flat and I get to live with my favourite person. Yes, living with your partner isn't the easiest thing and it comes with a lot of compromises but there is nothing better than having someone to come home to. We'll just ignore the fact he barely ever clears up after himself...

2. I'm healthy. I've put on a bit of weight recently, and I'm quite run down, but overall my body is working pretty perfectly. I think it's important to remember that, especially when I obsess over those few extra pounds...

3. My parents, they are pretty great. Some of my friends don't get on very well with their families and it always makes me realise how lucky I am. We get on really well and I always jump at the opportunity to spend time with them. 

4. It's sunny! We are approaching Summer and while the UK is far from a hot climate it does still get warm. I actually really like how varied the weather is in the UK it keeps things interesting!

5. I can afford to buy myself things. I don't earn a lot of money by any means and I have to be careful but I do still get to buy myself new things. A lot of people live in poverty and I'm lucky to be able to have a full fridge and I can treat myself when I want to.

6. Pizza. I'm grateful for all food, but especially pizza... It's just all the good things: bread, cheese, tomatoes and anything you want to throw on top!

7. Books. I can't imagine not having books in my life, seeing as they are both a hobby and part of my job. I just love how books can take you to different worlds or teach you new information.

8. My skin is clear. For the first time in a very long time I can officially say I have clear skin. Yes, I have a lot of scarring but that'll fade in time. My confidence has improved so much and I am keeping my fingers crossed it stays this way!

9. Living near the sea. It's something I've always taken for granted, until I realised that people actually pay to come on holiday to the South West of the UK. I don't live right next to the beach anymore but it is still only a fifteen minute drive away. It really is a beautiful part of the world and I don't appreciate it enough.

10. The internet. It is amazing how much I, and probably everyone else, relies on the internet: for information, directions, communication and anything else. I can't imagine my life without it, and how much harder everything would be! Yes, social media can be a pain but I am so grateful to have constant access to the internet and be able to write this blog!

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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

AN UNEXPECTED NYX HAUL


When I was about fourteen I was obsessed with watching American beauty youtubers, and I lusted over their insane makeup collections. You know the ones who had endless drawers filled with products; on reflection there is absolutely no way anyone can use that amount of makeup! One of the US brands that I always lusted after was NYX especially their jumbo eye pencils which everyone seemed to have. Years later and NYX has now launched in the UK and in Boots stores so I obviously had to try them out!

I had no idea NYX was going to be in my local store, living in the South West of England you get used to being ignored by major brands and being the last to get new things, but to my surprise the stand was there when I went into Boots today. Apparently it had only just arrived that morning... I don't really need any more makeup but I couldn't help buying a few things to try out.

Obviously I had to get one of the jumbo eye pencils, and I played it safe with Iced Mocha a bronzy brown shade. I've only tested it on my hand so far, but the stick is really creamy and it looks like one of those eye pencils you can roughly apply, smudge and go. Which is always good for me! I also thought I'd try their HD eye primer, which I know nothing about... I have pretty oily eyelids so it will interesting to see if this helps keep my eyeshadow in place.

I was in need of a new mascara and I've been struggling to find a good cruelty free one, and as NYX doesn't test on animals I bought their Doll Eye mascara. I have a feeling that this is going to be quite subtle although I quite like that on an everyday basis, so we'll see.

Finally I bought one of their single eyeshadows, which are only £3.50 and come in so many beautiful shades. I went for Chandelier which is a light shimmery taupe colour and hopefully it will look quite nice with the eye pencil. If the eyeshadows are good I can see myself going back and picking a few more!

I'm looking forward to trying out all these new bits, and I'm excited that their is a new affordable cruelty free brand in the UK to buy from.

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