Monday, 17 July 2017

Happy Things #29 // Honesty

Hello again, it's already Monday.

I share so much of my life, my opinions with you... Whoever you are, wherever you are in the world. Every Monday I post five happy things that will happen sometime during the week as a way of keeping my mental health on the positive side of life. However, the truth about having high functioning anxiety is that on the surface you look like you're coping when it reality you're breaking down inside.

Over the course of the last weekend I had one of the worst weekends in terms of my mental health for a long time. 

I couldn't sleep, purged on food... Cried constantly and spent hours looking at old friends online, missing them... Struggling to accept change. It's so incredibly difficult sometimes to be positive, regardless of how many lists of positivity you make. It's important to be honest, to be real about how you feel.

After a seriously bad weekend, I've woken up on Monday and survived Monday. I'm feeling much better, I'm ok. The reason behind this post that it's ok to slip up, to have a bad day, or week. But it's important to talk to someone, let anyone know how you feel. Try to move on. Life is hard, the path to happiness is never easy and it's something you have to constantly work at. This week I'm not writing a list, I want to live my life without sticking to a routine. Just for a week.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

A Collective Haul

Hello again guys, I can't believe that we're halfway through July already! I've had a few cheeky bits and pieces ordered this month and so far I'm absolutely in love with all of the items that have arrived for me this month. I've mentioned several times before on my blog that I do stick to a pretty strict budget; money doesn't grow on trees as we all know, so when I do make a purchase it's usually a very considered one. As we've had a fairly hot summer so far (hot for the UK, at any rate) I desperately wanted a fashionable pair of espadrilles as I'm not a fan of my toes. The ones pictured below were from Very and priced at £22. They're super comfy and keep my feet fashionable and ready for summer whilst covered up. The embroidered elements make them look so much more expensive and are super on trend at the moment. I'm loving embroidered accessories right now as these shoes really jazz up any outfit without being too overdone. I'm definitely going to be buying more espadrilles as these are so easy and comfortable to wear.

For the past couple of months I've been obsessed with the NYX liquid lipsticks; London is my absolute love, but I decided to branch out a little after seeing so many good reviews and opinions surrounding their products. From the Lip Lingerie collection I bought the shades Baby Doll and Honeymoon; priced at £6.99 they're a complete bargain and during this year I have started to like nude shades on me so the variety of shades available from NYX means that I can choose a nude shade that suits my skin tone. I also bought a Liquid Suede in the shade Sandstorm for the price of £6.99 and I can confirm that this really does live up to the hype! Of all of the NYX liquid lipstick formulas, I do prefer the Soft Matte Lip Creams, but in terms of pigmentation, the Liquid Suede formula definitely has the strongest colour. That being said, I love all of these formulas and I have no regrets in purchasing such a range of formulas and colours as they're excellent value for money. I'm also really liking the Glam'eyes Professional Liquid Eye Liner by Rimmel; priced at £4.99, it's definitely affordable and not only is it super black, it's also a matte finish. The applicator is very think too, so with some practice you can avoid looking like you're imitating a panda which is a result for me, haha. One of the more premium items in this haul is the Ready, Set, Brow! By Benefit and as much as I adore it, the price does make me cringe a little at £20. I would argue that it's worth the money as it sets my brows in place all day, every day and I love the packaging too, as an added bonus. It's definitely a splurge, but as I use it every day it's an investment purchase.

Unsurprisingly, after all of the hype surrounding the beauty blender (and sponge applicators in general), it was inevitable that I would eventually cave in and get some sponges to test. As I trust the Real Techniques brand and have a lot of their brushes, it made sense to me to try out the sponges by them too. The Miracle Complexion Sponge Duo are excellent value for money priced at £11.99 as that's for two sponges, whereas comparatively, some other brands are in excess of £15 for only one sponge. I've been fairly impressed with them so far, they blend foundation in really well and don't cause any streaks, although I've found they're a bit too bulky to blend in concealer so I'll likely invest in some smaller options for my under eyes, but for my overall face I would definitely recommend. I've also been loving the Eyes Starter Kit by Real Techniques as I've been trying a bit harder to create nice looks with my eyeshadow palettes, so it was time to invest in more brushes. For £19.99 you get five brushes that are for different eye related tasks, such as filling in brows or blending shadows over the lid. The different sizes and thicknesses are great and they feel good quality, with no shedding. For the price you receive a decent amount of brushes, as well as a little carry case, too so I have no regrets. Recently I've been needing to wear a watch more and more and so I decided it was time to buy a new one, the Radley Doodle Dog which is very cute, with little dog illustrations and rose gold detailing. At £69 it was the most expensive thing by far in this haul, but as I've used it every day since I bought it I do feel that it's worth it; for the price it had better last well!

Lastly, I've added two new perfumes to my extensive collection. Both of them were from my boyfriend for our anniversary, which is why I love them so much; they constantly remind of happy times, as well as of him. The largest of the two is Fantasy in Bloom by Britney Spears and it smells divine, with notes of mandarin, red berries, jasmine, vanilla and cherry blossom. It's a sweet and floral scent and very feminine, although even the bottle itself is incredibly feminine with its hot pink overall exterior alongside a gold neck and white and gold cherry blossoms. At £18 for the 100ml it's a bargain and it's the perfect summer scent. The smaller bottle is Princess Revolution by Vera Wang and it's a perfume that I'd been lusting after for months but could never manage to find it within my budget until recently. £19 for the 50ml bottle was great as it was affordable for me and I do love the Princess perfumes. As you can probably tell, I'm a fan of floral scents and this one is no exception with notes of lily of the valley, cherries, watermelon, jasmine, apple blossom and blood orange. The tangyness of the scent makes it feel quite oriental, but the bottle matches really well visually with the other Princess perfumes that I own, with its classic heart shape. The black doodles on the burgundy bottle are hard to picture, but in real life it's a stunning bottle and so hard to find that I thought I'd never manage to find it. This was actually quite a big haul, for the first time in a while; let me know if you like these kind of posts down in the comments. Until next time :)

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Book Review: The Hypnotist's Love Story


The reason behind this book being on my (rather large) reading list was because I had enjoyed reading Big Little Lies so much, which is also written by Liane Moriarty. The title is actually a little misleading; Ellen is actually a professional hypnotherapist who helps her clients lose weight, quit smoking and face their fears, amongst some other things. As a reader we're told fairly early on that she's single, aged thirty five, with a rather unsuccessful dating history; but she's ready to settle down, provided that she can find the right man. Naturally, this is when she meets Patrick; a widow with an eight year old son and hiding a secret. At first glance, Patrick appears to be the perfect man but a little distracted. I suppose you could argue that this is because he's a busy man, working full time and balancing raising a child as a single parent, but in all honestly the book only become interesting for me when Saskia is introduced. It was interesting to see a female stalker at work, as well as seeing the narrative voices switch between the perspectives of both Ellen and Saskia. Although technically there are three 'main' characters, as a reader we only ever see Patrick through the eyes of the two women as he never takes over the narrative at any point.

There are parts of this book that feel fairly unbelievable; for example Ellen is not disturbed by the thought that her boyfriend, Patrick has a stalker, she's intrigued. However, Ellen also doesn't realise that Saskia is just as interested in Ellen; to the extent that she even poses as a client, using a false name to have the oppportunity to get to know Ellen and snoop around her house, as all Ellen works through her home. As a woman myself, I honestly found it all a bit bizarre; the fact that Ellen was actually fine with her new boyfriend having a stalker, that she was interested even, seems impossible to me. The worst part is that with time, you begin to feel sorry for Saskia, sympathise with her almost; she met the right man at the wrong time and she's been punishing him and herself, ever since. However, on the other hand, it is difficult to fathom why she would go to the lengths she does, to stalk Patrick; or even why she stalks him at all, other than the fact she's struggling to move on with her own life. The one thing I really loved about this book is that Saskia was included as a narrative voice; it made her character seem real, less one dimensional. 

The introduction of Saskia was really well done and was a great plot twist, although the apart from that, at times the book could be a little slow. It didn't grip me as much as I wanted it to; I just couldn't understand why Saskia couldn't let go of this man as on the surface she was an ordinary woman. She was successful at work and had her own house, and comfortably so. Obviously there are many layers to a stalker, one of these was that she met him as her mother died so I feel like she replaced her grief with love for Patrick. But even so, I feel like the introduction of Ellen, particularly when she becomes pregnant, clearly affected Saskia; but even more bizarrely, in another world you could imagine the two women being friends as they are fairly similar. The character that I throughly disliked was actually Patrick; in my opinion he was thoughtless and selfish. Using Saskia as a replacement wife and mother when his wife and Jack's mother died and then leaving her when his grieving period was over. I also got the impression that he constantly compares both Ellen and Saskia to his wife, Colleen. Which isn't nice, particularly when you consider that Ellen is pregnant and both him and his son then moved into her home.

Overall, I did find this novel fairly slow paced. However, I didn't dislike it as there were some fantastic parts. Saskia cooking and cleaning in Ellen's house, snooping in her bathroom and seeing what tampons she uses (amongst other things) were both creepy and did turn up the stalking a notch; a the book went on there were times when Saskia definitely became more dangerous, to both herself and those around her. It was a relief to see the stalking reach the point where the law needed to intervene; however I wasn't keen on Ellen's interest in Saskia. It wasn't healthy to be so fascinated by the fact that an ex-girlfriend is stalking your now boyfriend. It was great to see all parties, particularly Saskia, regain a social life and move on from an incident, but on the whole I felt the plot was a bit lacking. All in all, as a reader I was intrigued to see how Ellen shaped a relationship with Jack and her own father, both of which were skimmed over quite a lot. On a positive note, I really liked Ellen's 'three mothers'; the dynamic between them was great and I wanted to see a lot more of them than I did, but they were a fabulous addition to the character sphere. Despite this being a rather critical review, I did enjoy reading this book I would recommend it as the writing is great, but I would say that you need to be prepared to fully commit; it's quite a long book, slow in places but a good read that's worth seeing through to the end as it's worth it.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Happy Things #28

1. My boyfriend has this amazing habit of gifting me with flowers on a regular basis; this flowers pictured above were given to me on our one year anniversary. Two weeks later an they're still going strong, I love it whenever I see flowers around the house as they make me think of him so that always makes me happy at the end of a stressful day.

2. Over the past few months I've learnt that not every day will be the best day of your life and that it's ok to not always feel your best. Blogging has definitely become a huge part of my life, not only because I enjoy it, but also because I feel like the blogging community is super supportive and I love being involved in twitter chats and other social media as it's a great way to get to know other bloggers with similar interests.

3. Last week I got my nose pierced with a friend after wanting it for literally years; I've always loved piercings and I've definitely caught the bug again. It was more painful than I expected and in all honestly it's pretty sore... But even so, I love it and I wouldn't be surprised if I end up goin back for more piercings in the next few months.

4. I'm super excited for you guys to see the blog posts that I have planned for this month; I'm just feeling so inspired and creative at the moment and I really want to improve my content. I'm definitely my own worst critic, but that's ok. I've got so many posts in the pipeline, so stay tuned as I'll be posting regularly this month to make up for the shambles that was the end of June as I was so ill. 

5. I feel really positive about this week and that feels absolutely amazing. Fingers crossed it'll end up being a great week!

Sunday, 9 July 2017

July Moodboard

Hello again; this month I've got two spontaneous piercings... My left tragus and my nose! I actually have so many piercings now (sixteen in total) that I'm bordering on more metal than girl, oops. Which is why I've been loving looking at piercing arrangements online as I've rediscovered my love for piercings. When I was at university I used to get new piercings regularly, but that habit stopped when I worked in the food industry. Luckily I now have a job that allows my piercings to be on full display! All of the images below were found using google image searches and most of them are from Tumblr and Pinterest. Ever since I dyed my hair pink last month I feel quite experimental in terms of my hair, although I want to grow my hair very long again. I'm feeling super inspired by 'mermaid' style hair, long and flowing with crazy hair colours, although I think I'll go back to blonde soon. After spending 24 years with blonde hair, the pink is fun but blonde is just easier to care for. I've refound my love for Cath Kidston through my summer wardrobe; I have so many of her 1950s style dresses... Buses, Clocks, Leaves, Townhouses, etc. However I really want to start buying more styles, I wish I could find the Trains or Books dresses, I'm in love with the whimsical prints and the cut of the dresses really suits my curvy figure. I'm not a huge fan of the heat of summer, but I do wearing girly dresses and just generally going out and making an effort to look nice. Let me know in the comments if you enjoy this kind of post! :)

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Book Review: The Perks Of Being A Wallflower


First of all, I decided to give this novel a read due to all of the hype that surrounded it a couple of years back and the fact is, it's a short read at under 300 pages so it's perfect for breaks at work. The main character and narrative voice, Charlie, is a fifteen year old boy who seems both immature and naive for his age, although that being said, he does suffer quite extensively from mental health, which could be related to his naivety. Seemingly friendless, the narrative voice is given through a series of letters to a stranger. The start of the novel discusses starting High School and naturally, the fears that come with starting over at a new stage in life. Further on, we see Charlie start to socialise with a group of older friends and you get to watch his personality develop; although it seems possible that Charlie has some kind of personality disorder or autism. (As I'm not a medical professional this possibility is purely guesswork). I wasn't keen on the letter style of writing, I found the dates and end of the letters somewhat irritating; the text didn't flow well in this style. Chbosky covers a variety of Young Adult topics in this novel such as mental health, suicide/death, sexuality, sexual abuse/rape,  substance abuse, domestic violence and social anxiety but unfortunately none of these issues are dealt with in any depth.

As a reader, I do enjoy seeing the world from another's perspective and Charlie's mind is unquestionably interesting; intelligent but socially awkward, I can see why this novel was so hyped a few years ago as it describes feelings and the consequences of drugs such as LSD and marijuana, as well as discovering sexuality, having sex and going on dates, alongside homosexuality. Witnessing Charlie forge relationships felt quite intrusive at times; he seemed to struggle a lot with different kinds of relationships, which as a reader suddenly becomes understandable at a point in the book. The title of the novel relates to a situation where Charlie is declared a 'wallflower' by his friend; he seems to settle into that ideal pretty easily, content to be forever on the outskirts of a group. However, I didn't really feel like his naivety was altogether true; Charlie was perceptive, he took part in the usual teenage rebellions of taking drugs and having sex so it was hard for me to believe that he wasn't aware of masterbation or dreaming about sex prior to engaging in any sexual activity. That said, he did hang around with an older group of friends, but at 15 years old it's slightly unbelieveable considering he comes from a non religious family that seem to be open about sex.

The one relationship that I really liked was between Charlie and his English teacher; Bill seemed to not only give Charlie a great deal of time and attention, but he also seemed to see something in Charlie that no one else did, particularly Charlie himself. It's clear throughout the novel that Charlie is a rapidly advanced reader, often spending time reading and Bill often gives Charlie some great advice. He becomes a real support to Charlie and is the most positive model (in my opinion) amongst the range of characters that are brought to the fore in various parts of the book. That said, all of the characters introduced feel realistic, they're described in such a way that they will likely remind you of someone that you know, or used to know. None of the relationships are really described in masses of detail, although for a novel of less than 300 pages it's hardly surprising that there are some details lacking; parts of this novel seem quite lacklustre and vague, but this could be down to Charlie's narrative voice being somewhat hazy during his drug and/or alcohol binges. At times it feels like the writing style doesn't match the personality and hyper intelligence that is expected of Charlie, given the impression that the reader is given through Bill assigning him extra reading and essays (as he essentially a high achieving student, particularly in English).

Overall, I would say don't give into the hype that this book had a couple of years back; the title is massively enticing, especially for someone like me who has a tendency to become a wallflower at times. However, I hated the writing style; I'm not a fan of letters, or diary excerpts as a narrative technique as honestly it irritates me. Although in this case, it's intended to add to Charlie's personality, I felt like we were glimpsing a very one sided, tactically placed narrative voice so that a lot of puzzle pieces are missing. The main issue that I had with his book is that I just couldn't gel with Charlie; possibly because I'm now in my twenties and teenage issues don't bother or affect me anymore, but I found his naivety annoying rather than endearing. I just wanted a little more oomph; for example a better explanation of his mental health problems and the various other topics that are touched upon but never fully explained. It was difficult to judge where the writer was going with this novel and it's definitely one that you either love or hate and I have to say I was disappointed to be closer to the hate catagory; there was so much untapped potential in this book that left me both curious and frustrated. Let me know in the comments if you have read this book; if you have, did you love it or hate it? Or if you are planning to read this book, I'd love to hear another opinion!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Happy Things #27

1. I've been quite ill the past couple of weeks, so it's nice to finally feel better enough to blog again. I've missed some posts, (like this one which should've been posted yesterday) but that's fine, it's how life is. I really needed to rest.

2. I've got a doctors appointment at last, so fingers crossed I'll be able to find out why I've been feeling so ill, as although I'm feeling better I'm still not feeling great. Hopefully I'll be back to normal by the end of this week and therefore back to blogging more regularly.

3. Honestly, all I've wanted to do is sleep, so I haven't been reading or blogging half as much as I usually do, or would like to; this week I'm planning to blog more than I have been, as it has really become my main hobby and therefore a big part of my life.

4. Today I'm going to a restaurant with Piotr, which will be nice as we're both working a lot this week; it's hard to see each other when you're working in different places with different schedules so it's always nice to spend some time together.

5. I've been taking my dog for lots of walks to get some fresh air and I've been really enjoying watching the sunset in the evenings with her. When we walk I like taking photos of the skies.

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