Saturday, 20 January 2018

Book Review: Missing Me




After reading the first two novels in the trilogy, I couldn’t not read the final instalment; I like to finish whatever I begin. The Purditt family has ridiculous levels of bad luck, as we (as readers) saw in the first two novels, too. The first thing to notice about Missing Me is that the narration is told from Maddison’s perspective, not Lauren’s, which for me was a welcome change as it mixed it up a little, particularly as she’s now fourteen years old and in the other books she’s under ten. Also, unlike the other books in the series, this one is purely based in the UK as all of the family have chosen to stay in London. This family never seems to live without drama, which although unsurprising, it felt a little annoying as I wanted something a little less dramatic to start off the book. Lauren reveals to the family that she is pregnant, which shocked me as I never would’ve predicted that of all things, but then I had to remember she’s in her twenties as Maddison is a teenager. Mo is really unimpressed, in fact she’s insanely jealous as she feels like their close bond will change.

Mo then finds out about her biological father being a sperm donor and so she’s determined to find him; like Lauren, she has an inquisitive mind so it doesn’t take her long to track him down through social media. On the surface he seems nice, keen to have a good relationship with her and has an amazing job but realistically you do wonder if he is all that he seems. In fairness, Maddison’s dad died when she was young, so it seems like she’s attempting to fill the void that he left, which is understandable, she’s had a difficult life so far. However, the issue is that he ends up involving Maddison in a dodgy situation although she does make some friends along the way, ultimately Lauren ends up being kidnapped. Naturally, all jealousy of the baby is forgotten and Maddison desperately attempts to find her with the help of a new friend, although it’s hard to tell if he can be trusted (much like her biological father, come to that). All in all, the situation is a huge mess. In all honestly, this book is a little too dramatic at times, as nobody can be trusted and there are lots of secrets hanging in the air.

It’s even clearer through seeing the world from Maddison’s point of view this time that she truly idolises her sister to the point that she’s constantly finding ways to live up to Lauren’s bravery in the previous two books. At times, Maddison is extremely selfish; in fact, her and Lauren are very similar in terms of personality. They’re both driven, determined, loyal to her family and fearless in the face of immense danger. One of the reasons that I loved this series so much was the way that Sophie McKenzie inserts dramatic events that keep the novel super fast paced yet easy to read; the plot flows well but at times all of the events lead into one another seems a little too convenient, unfortunately. However, this series is never short of action, with the sister often in the thick of it; but this time, there’s a baby to think about, which raises the stakes even higher. Maddison is a good character, but as the narrator she often came across as selfish, whiny and immature; there was so much teenage angst in her mind with her irrational hatred of her mother and her inability to be happy for her sisters baby joy. Plus, she has a tendency to throw herself into danger without thinking of the consequences.

Overall, I did enjoy this book but it was definitely my least favourite of the series. I know that sounds harsh, but I think that changing the narrator was a brave decision and although it worked to an extent (as the two sisters’ personalities are very different) it was hard to gel to Maddison as much as she is actually quite selfish, but her determination to protect her family was lovely to read, in fairness. However, McKenzie’s idea of a ‘villain’ for this novel was so easy to hate, it was a pleasure to get to the bottom of the mystery as the level of suspense never relented. Yes, it is a series so it’s not surprising that the plot layout is very similar to the first two novels in the series, but in all honesty I would’ve loved to see something completely different. I feel like this family have had enough danger, death and kidnapping for a lifetime. That said, I still rate this 4 stars as I do love a bit of suspense and I liked that she tried using a different character to narrate the story as that did mix it up a little. If you’ve read the other books in the series you’ll either love this or hate this; I’m closer to love than hate, but I still feel like there was something missing to make it outstanding for me.



Friday, 19 January 2018

2018 Favourites // Beauty

Hello again guys; I’m aware that I’m super behind with this post as it’s now mid January (already!) but in my defence, I do have a full time job and sometimes it’s good to just chill out and not constantly force yourself to write, write, write. I’ve already posted about my favourite books of 2017 and honestly, my other love in life is beauty products and I used a lot of those in 2017 so it made sense to start a post purely about what I loved so much I’ll definitely be repurchasing and reusing for 2018. Honestly, I cannot believe how quickly the month of January is flying by, without me even realising, oops. So far, 2018 has been treating me rather well and that’s always a good thing. I’m actually loving to simply live my life and not stress anymore about making this blog ‘successful’; I’ve remembered why I started blogging. I wanted a hobby and so for 2018 I’m going to blog because I enjoy it; not because I want to pressure myself. It feels great to be at a place in my life where I feel content enough to share my life and not worry about views and numbers; instead I’m focusing on the creative side of blogging and so I’m planning to improve my content over the next year. Please let me know in the comments if you like this kind of post as it’s always good to know! :)




BRUSHES

In all honesty, I’m not very experimental when it comes to choice of brushes. For the past couple of years I’ve only used the Real Techniques brand for brushes and I genuinely do love them. One of the reasons why I like them so much is that I love that you can buy multiple different brush types in sets for good prices. I currently own the Core Collection, Your Picks Berlin and Enhanced Eye sets and each set was under £25 for 4 or 5 brushes in the set. I decided to invest in the sets because it’s cheaper than buying the brushes individually, plus you get a variety of different brushes that can do different things. I’ve had some of these brushes over over a year and they still work perfectly with no shedding, so I don’t regret the investment and I’ll definitely get more brushes from the range over time.

LIP PRODUCTS

In 2017 I discovered the power of liquid lipsticks; I love that they dry matte and stay put for so long, plus it also means that my poor boyfriend doesn’t have lipstick smudged all over his cheeks like he has had in the past, haha. At the beginning of 2017 I would’ve sworn by any liquid lipstick from NYX, but towards the end of the year I became obsessed with the Rimmel versions. My favourite shades are London from the Soft Matte Lip Cream range by NYX and Moca, Fire Starter from the Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Lip range. London is by far my favourite ever nude lip shade, but I prefer the formula of the Rimmel versions as they feel thicker and less drying on the lips. Both priced at £6, these lipsticks are amazingly purse friendly and I’m sure I’ll be purchasing many more shades to experiment with over the coming year.

FACE PRODUCTS

A fairly recent discovery for me is the L’Oréal Paris 24hr Infallible Foundation in the shade Porcelain. Honestly, I don’t know how many years I’ve been searching for a foundation that feels light on the skin, has good coverage and most importantly, matches my ghostly skin tone. Priced at £10.99, it’s not the cheapest foundation on the market but it does a fantastic job for a reasonable price. It’s likely to sit in my make up bag for a seriously long time. Likewise, I’ve recently discovered an excellent concealer, again by L’Oréal Paris, it’s the True Match Concealer in the shade Rose Ivory. The reason why I like it so much is that the range allows you to choose not only by your flat skin tone, it also allows you to choose whether you have cool or warm toned skin. For £7.99, it is rather pricey but it lasts a long time and it has a really easy to use applicator that works seamlessly to cover even the nastiest of nasty dark under eye circles.

In terms of eyebrow products, my holy grail products are the L’Oréal Paris Artist Xpert in the shade Cool Blond and the Benefit Ready, Set Brow! Which I use every single day. The eyebrow pencil is super easy to use and reasonably priced at £6.99. I love it because it thickens and defines my brows whilst keeping them looking natural; I don’t like to look super groomed. The cool tone of the product works well for me as my natural eyebrow colour is a dark blonde and once the brows are brushed through I’m always ready for the day ahead. I do like to set my brows in place because I like them to stay in position throughout the day. The Benefit product does cost £20 which does seem extortionate for a clear brow gel but honestly it’s the best one that I’ve tried, it stays put for at least 12 hours and so my brows look naturally perfect, rather than overdone. My other face love is the MakeUp Revolution Vivid Baked Highlight in the shade Ever Glow Lights which is absolute steal for £3; it gives a lovely glow with just a small sweep of product and I’ve genuinely hit pan... Time for a new one, I think!




EYE PRODUCTS

My stand out eyeshadow palette of the year has got to be the Sleek MakeUp iDivine Palette in the shade All Night Long. For the £8.99 you get a decently sized palette with a large mirror and twelve different shades with a good mixture of matte and shimmer shades. The shades are so, so pigmented and last really well on the eyelids. Since discovering this palette I’ve had so many compliments on the eye looks I’ve been creating and I love how versatile this palette is. There are some stunning copper and bronze shimmers that make up the perfect smoky but subtle blend of shadows. In terms of mascaras, I have three that I constantly reach for. Firstly, the Maybelline The Rocket Volum’ Express in Very Black has been a favourite of mine for the majority of 2017. I find that plastic bristles work really well to enlongate, volumise and fan out the individual lashes to create a false lash effect whilst using my natural lashes. For £7.99, this mascara is both affordable and can be used for a day time or night time eye look as I used it everyday for quite a few months for a variety of situations and I was always satisfied with it. I actually purchased it at least three times during 2017, which is the sign of a winner.

There are two other mascaras that I’ve truly loved during 2017. The Maybelline Colossal Big Shot mascara is absolutely amazing and a case in point that sometimes what you wouldn’t usually like can be a great discovery. The brush does have wavy fibre bristles, which is something that I wouldn’t usually go for. That said, I love how this mascara does everything; it curls, it volumises and it lengthens all for the price of £7.99 although admittedly I do tend to apply three coats to reach the desired false lash effect. The final mascara that I loved last year was the L’Oréal Paris Miss Baby Roll which has the most bizarrely shaped plastic bristled brush I’ve ever seen and yet it is honestly my favourite mascara of all time, for now. I’ve never found another mascara with a similar brush style, yet it creates the most incredible volume and curl with only one coat. If I want to make super dramatic, individually fanned lashes then a second coat takes the look from day to night and I’m obsessed, I cannot rave about this mascara enough, particularly as it’s so affordable.

PERFUME

I have a massive collection of perfumes, but over the last year my favourites were actually gifts. The Britney Spears Maui Fantasy was given to me by my Nana and I’ve been wearing it regularly since April; it comes in a beautiful blue bottle with floral decoration and smells so tropical, it’s very unusual. It feels light on the skin and reminds me a lot of long summer days and holidays with the lovely notes of orange blossom, coconut and hibiscus amongst many others. The second perfume that I’ve loved was a gift from my boyfriend, the Vera Wang Princess of Hearts is a beautiful scent with a gorgeous pink heart shaped bottle with little pink hearts all over it. It’s a lovely feminine scent, with notes of watermelon, lily of the valley and jasmine. I love this so much, I wore it more or less every day during spring and summer and because it was a gift it makes it even more enjoyable to wear. 



Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Book Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks



Over the past few months I’ve started reading more and more regularly; the cover of this book really caught my eye, with the ripped white paper effect against the metallic blue background and so I decided to give it a ago as generally I love Young Adult fiction. As the title suggests, Flora is suffering from Amnesia and so although she is seventeen years old, she believes that she is ten as that’s the only part of her life that she can properly remember. She can do basic tasks, like cook, clean, wash etc. But her short term memory is nothing short of abysmal, often forgetting events that have happened only hours before. Her best friend, Paige is constantly her companion and to an extent, her carer aside from her parents. Although this is a YA novel, a lot of the time it seems like a child’s book because the writing style is very simple. I suppose that is due to Flora believing that she’s ten years old as she is the sole narrator, but it was slightly irritating at times.

Flora has a sudden shock when she has a memory, a recent memory that seventeen year old Flora can remember; a memory that is able to remind her of her true age, rather than how old she remembers being. This is an incredible thing because Flora doesn’t remember things, that’s the whole point of the story, really. Due to her terrible short term memory, Flora writes notes to herself all over her hands and arms but one thing stands out; ‘FLORA be brave’ as that reminds her of her name (and therefore who she is) as well as take risks and live her life. She also carries a notebook around that is ‘her story’, written by her mother and it is a way for Flora to remember who she is. However, when she realises that she is a seventeen year old, rather than a ten year old due to a memory, she also loses some friends. Her parents go away, leaving her alone as her friend doesn’t visit so Flora does a reckless thing; she manages to travel across the world in search of finding her memory.

I loved Flora’s drive to overcome her disability; she also had some excellent relationships with family and friends, even if she didnt always remember their names or when they last met which were really nicely portrayed. Her parents didn’t seem like the best at times, although as the novel progresses it is explained more in depth which actually resulted in sympathy towards them in some way. FLORA be brave is an excellent way of describing her lust for life; her journey of self discovery and her reasons for living day to day. By reading from her perspective it really does hit home just how difficult an illness amnesia is; forgetting friends, what you did an hour ago, what you were saying earlier (as a few examples) must be the most frustrating things to experience within a loved one, as well as within yourself. On the other hand, having events, conversations and ideas constantly forgotten and repeated meant that it felt like the book was one big circle at times; which I suppose foreshadows the repetitiveness of her illness but it was also slightly confusing to read as it felt like there were many parts that I’d already read when in fact it was a different situation with the same issues surrounding it.

Overall, I did enjoy this book but unfortunately there were a lot of flaws in the telling of the story, but the plot was great. As I said previously, the writing style was a little too simplistic for me, even for YA fiction which was a shame. However the characterisation was good and using Flora’s amnesia to describe the same person from a different perspective every time she ‘met’ the person again was a lovely quirk that showed the issues with that kind of illness very well. I also liked that Flora’s strength was shown alongside her vulnerability; how she was capable of being wild and loved by many people whilst struggling to be independent; there are many coming of age themes explored in this book and as much as I found Flora infuriating at times, her character was so interesting that it was impossible to dislike her once the novel was complete. Parts of this story felt unrealistic to me, which is why it’s only a 3 star read to me, but it is worth picking up as it does make you think and the twist was pretty unexpected and that is always a good thing in a novel. I’d recommend reading this with an open mind, which is why this review is carefully not giving any of the main events of the plot away!




Sunday, 14 January 2018

January Playlist





Hello again guys; I’m sorry if it seems like I’m blogging less at the moment, but I promise that I’m not! Honestly, I blog for pleasure and make no money from my blog so my blogging fits around my everyday life, which is fine but it does mean that I upload really erratically at times. This month I’ve been loving (as always) listening to music on the go, to and from work. I find it super relaxing and it’s a good to get into the mood for work, or to wind down after a long day. I listen to whatever I want to, I’m not fussed about if it’s cool or not, I do love a cheeky guilty pleasure to listen to. None of the songs below are in any particular order, they’re just the fifteen different songs that I’m obsessed with listening to at the minute; I keep absent mindedly hummed the tunes to myself without realising, ahah!

1. Beautiful Trauma - P!nk
2. Something Just Like This - The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
3. One Last Time - Ariana Grande
4. Reggaetón Lento (Remix) - CNCO & Little Mix
5. Échame La Culpa - Luis Fonsi & Demi Lovato
6. Where We Go - P!nk
7. Where Do Broken Hearts Go - One Direction
8. Dusk Till Dawn - Zayn feat. Sia
9. Reggaetón Lento (Bailemos) - CNCO
10. Crying in the Club - Camila Cabello
11. Payphone - Maroon 5 (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
12. Still Into You - Paramore
13. Heart Skips a Beat - Olly Murs (feat. Rizzle Kicks)
14. Elastic Heart - Sia
15. Havana - Camila Cabello (feat. Young Thug)


Thursday, 11 January 2018

2017 Favourites // Books

Hello guys! This time last year I started a new job and as a result, I suddenly found that that I had lot more spare time so I finally rediscovered my childhood love of reading. I didn’t quite meet my Goodreads challenge of 40 books, I only managed to hit 37 but overall I’m actually really proud of that as I read some really amazing novels and started a new hobby, which was something that I really wanted to achieve in 2017. In this post I’m going to talk about my favourite books of 2017 (which was very hard to narrow down). Throughout my childhood and now my adulthood, no books ever manage to compare to my ultimate favourite series, Harry Potter as I have so many amazing memories of reading the books and watching the films over the years. Overall, 2017 was a good year for me; I read so many incredible books and some of them I doubt I’ll ever forget. It was difficult to choose the best of a good bunch, but I think (hope) that I’ve managed it.


The Keeper of Lost Things

One of my favourite books of last year, Sunshine was a character who completely stole my heart. She’s definitely one that I doubt that I’ll ever be able to forget, she made the entire novel so memorable with her chatty ways and love of a simple cup of tea. Actually, the majority of the characters were lovely, often supporting each other through some hard times. The concept of looking after lost items and returning them to their owners was so lovely too; it was an unusual book and full of pleasant surprises.

Tin Man

A modern take on love and loss, there were elements of a love story for it to be untangled at the last minute. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I starting reading this novel, but Sarah Winman always writes in such a beautiful way that it doesn’t matter; the content is always amazing. I loved how it started with a husband and wife and then the reader got to know their child and his wife and best friend too; everyone had their own story, everything was explained and developed.

This Is Now

This was a novel full of characters and surprises; Ciara Geraghty isn’t an author who I was familiar with, but having read this book I’m sure I’ll read more of her works. Her writing style is lovely; I liked that this book began with an event which was then broken down, showing the reader individual stories of those who were involved with the major incident. It has a bit of social commentary too, as many of the characters are immigrants from Ireland or Poland which was delicately handled.

The Couple Next Door

Over the past year I started reading more and more thrillers; this one was an incredible read. It all started with a double dinner date, then ended up with a missing child, such is the case for those who often seem to have it all. In an evening, the perfect relationship, the perfect life is slowly unravelled. It was such a gripping read; the plot never failing to be an absolute shocker.


After You

I loved this because it went against the grain of the average sequel; filled with grief and mixed in with endless love, an ordinary girl attempting to live an ordinary life after experiencing the worst kind of detachment from her best friend. Her life is a bit of a mess, which only seems to increase over the year after his death. The story wasn't similar to the prequel and that was a good thing; it was a continuation through new life.

The Muse

This book is arguably the best of them all; so unique and so beautifully written.I loved the concept that art, and an art gallery in two different countries and two different timelines can correspond through a painting. The elements of racism and war foreshadowed by the artworks are described so perfectly it was easy to let the imagination run wild.

I See You

An incredible thriller, made all the more terrifying by its twenty first century setting; using social media, the internet and commuter newspapers, there's someone watching your every move, documenting your way to work every single day. This book contains one of the best twists I think I've ever read in a thriller, it is completely addictive. You have to read until you know whodunnit.

The Shock of The Fall

This is likely to be the most realistic novel that I've ever read regarding mental health. A boy whose life is deeply affected by loss and survivor's guilt; a boy who finds comfort in his best friend, his only friend.This is a novel that makes you laugh, scream and cry because throughout the novel we see a boy turn into a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. It is told sensitively and honestly, the ugly side of life is visible throughout.


A Year of Marvellous Ways

One of my favourite authors, her novels never fail to amaze me. The story of a woman in the later stages of life sounds boring on the outset, but through the pages she seems to grow and grow, finding people to help along her journey to the end. I love the way that all of the main characters explored the idea that being human is a complex thing. It begins slowly but the beautifully written prose draws you in.

The Little Pieces of You and Me

A story of two friends, who have managed to keep their friendship as close as it was back in their university days, despite one living the dream working and residing in another country and the other married and settled beyond her years. Until a diagnosis changes the course of their lives forever; this is a well written novel that is an enjoyable read. The idea of a perfect life is unravelled as the book goes on, it’s a realistic view of the world.

Baby Doll

This book starts where others end; all about escape. Escape from captivity, escape from the mind; finally being free, except that freedom also comes at a price. I loved how this book explored so many taboo subjects and the main character was so strong throughout that it was an incredible read. Usually a kidnapping is how a book ends, so this one immediately stood out as it was focused instead on recovering from capture and moving on.

The Miniaturist 

This was a recommended read for me and I instantly fell in love. Based on a dolls house on display in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, it tells the story of Petronella Oortman. As I studied art, I love Jessie Burton’s novels as they always describe various pieces of art whilst adding her interpretation of the world within an artwork. This book explored 17th century life for women in what was a man’s world as well as commenting on the place of merchant families within society. This was an incredible read, I can’t fault it.




Monday, 1 January 2018

New Year Goals // Bonjour 2018





Hello guys and Happy New Year! After Blogmas I got really ill (thank you christmas stomach bug, ew) so I decided after posting so often in December it was time for a break as I needed to rest, in all honesty. I celebrated the New Year in with my friends and boyfriend and it was actually lovely; however now it’s January I feel like it’s time to get back into blogging. Over the past few years I’ve actually done a couple of posts similar to this and ivone definitely learnt over the past couple of years that I’m stronger than I think I am; I don’t make New Years resolutions per se, but I like to have some goals, some ideas for what I’d like to achieve over the course of a year and that seems to work fairly well for me.

Relationships - for 2017 I wanted to really focus on keeping up old friendships, making the effort to see friends whenever possible and work through the fact we’re all busy people with different lives to rekindle some friendships. I achieved that in 2017 so for 2018 I want to continue that, I’ve been messaging my school friends and I’m due to see my uni friend in a couple of weeks, which is an excellent start. What I want to focus on in 2018 is keeping up with my old work mates, some of them I’ve known for six years and I’m excited to see where that goes. In terms of my boyfriend, I’m looking forward to spending another year together, exploring life and the world around us.

Hobbies - I’m proud that I now have a few hobbies, namely reading, photography and blogging which I’ve been able to utilise so much over the past year and I can’t wait to continue those over the coming year. This year I want to expand my hobbies a little more, through scrapbooking (I really want to collate my memories into albums) and maybe starting a YouTube channel, something which I’ve been debating about for the past few months. I’d also like to keep enjoying having hobbies, hopefully this year I’ll be lucky enough to meet some like minded people, for example I’d love to meet some other bloggers in person one day.

Adventure - I want to focus on exploring the amazing city that I live in; London is a city like no other and yet I feel like I’ve barely seen any of it. My boyfriend is Polish and so I have an excellent excuse to start making more of an effort and discovering new places. This is actually something that I had planned for 2017, but that never happened so it’s always good to reattempt a goal. During 2018 I want to discover at least 5 places in London that I’ve never been to before.

Holidays/Time Off - So far, I have three trips planned for 2018; to Rzeszów in Poland for Easter and Christmas with Piotr, to Amsterdam in the Netherlands for my birthday and to Valencia in Spain with my Nana in the Spring so I’m looking like a very busy bee for next year, which I’m really excited for as that means that I’ll definitely be living my life to full during the next year. I’m also hoping for a chilled out, stress free year.

Health - In terms of mental health, over the past year I’ve had one of the best years in a long time. I’ve finally started to feel free, to not panic so often and somehow manage to work my way through life with minimal stress. I’m hoping that 2018 will be just as good in that sense, as yes not every day is amazing but if there are more good days than bad then that is a win. Last year I was always meaning to join the gym and get physically more healthy, however this year I’m determined to get more active as I’ve started being more sensible with my diet.

Work - I’m in a job that I love, I honestly can’t believe I’ve worked there for a year already; here’s to another good year!



Sunday, 24 December 2017

Feeling Festive

Hello again guys; it’s Christmas Eve, which means that finally my household has put up the Christmas tree. It’s crazy to look about on the last month, how quickly the time has flown and how many blog posts have been written and shared by me; some are good, some weren’t as good as I feel that they should have been but overall I produced some content that I was really proud of. Since getting a new camera I do feel like my content has improved somewhat, but maybe that’s wishful thinking, haha. Seeing as next year I’ll be spending the Christmas period in Poland, I’m enjoying chilling out and having some family time this Christmas. It’s strange how you forget how many decorations and pretty things you own for the festive season over the course of a year; so many of these decorations I had forgotten about and I have no idea how I did. They’re so stunning, particularly against the green tones of the Christmas tree. Tonight I’m planning to vegetate in front of the tv with a hot chocolate and some Pringles, so excited haha. It’s taken me a while to get into the Christmas spirit so I’m going to revel in it over the next couple of days. Merry Christmas 🎄 










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