Sunday, 28 May 2017

Favourite Instagrammers #11

Hello again! If you're a regular reader of this blog, then you'll know just how much of an instagram fan I am. In all honestly, the app has begun to irritate me a little recently, the follow/unfollow game is giving me a headache. However, I do really like how it's a super visual platform; I've recently started liking Pinterest for the same reasons, but I find instagram easier to use overall. Instagram is one of the apps on my phone that i use more or less every single day as I do love seeing others posts, as well as posting myself. I'm not bothered about if an instagram feed has a theme or not; personally I don't stick to a theme as I use it as a way of documenting my life and promote my blog. I'm really interested in following more bloggers, let me know your usernames in the comments and I'll give you a follow! :)


 

katy_who

I've been in love with Katy's instagram feed for a few months now; there's something addictively beautiful about her ethereal, floral forest photograph collection. Her wild mane of hair really fits the forest, wild theme; her photographs are very influenced by nature and the seasons, for example at the moment she's capturing the blooms of spring. Alongside the nature photographs there are books, architecture, outfits for days and stationary. Her creative flair is obvious throughout the whole feed and although there is an obvious theme it's beautifully done. Her feed is perfect or those who love travel and nature as each photograph fits into that mold. Even with a theme, each image feels personal and there's always a lovely caption that makes you feel as though you're getting to know the person behind the feed.


 

sirenandrose

I've been following Megan on instagram ever since I stumbled across her then blog, thebriarrose a couple of years back. Her feed is mostly food, pastels, Disney and cosplay characters. I really like how each photograph has a story to it, she always writes a detailed caption of how the image makes her feel; it's like you really get to know Megan, her likes and dislikes. Overall she's a girly girl, but I don't feel overwhelmed with pastels and pink. Her photographs of the Cornish coast, of the city of Bath in the full bloom of spring are simply gorgeous. On a side note, she has the loveliest crockery too; all flowers and delicate prints.


 

parlezvousparisien

I found Abby's blog and instagram page very recently, through a twitter blogger chat and instantly fell in love! It's really interesting to see Paris from another Londoners point of view, even though I'm not a fan of Paris. That said, Abby captures Paris in a way that I've never seen; all beautiful architecture, secret cobbled streets and of course, some of the world famous monuments such as the Eiffel Tower and The Cathedrale de Notre Dame. I like the snippets of French culture in the form of food, drink and general lifestyle. I do like to travel, so I enjoy seeing the world through other people's eyes; even the grittier side of the Parisian streets are photographed and shared, it's nice to see all sides of the city, not just the tourist areas.


 

perksofbeingsharna

Sharna's feed is definitely that of a beauty blogger; with her Pinterest worthy interiors, millions of make up products and on trend accessories spread across many of the images. Quirky desk accessories, such as patterned cats, candles and plants are frequently featured in her photographs. I like how she comes across as supe positive, writing captions that describe how much she loves a specific mascara, or hand cream for example. A lot of her photos are pretty in pink, it I feel like they're not doused in pink; although she's a girly girl, you don't feel overwhelmed by the girlyness. She's honest about what make up uses and rates how good it is, which is always useful when you want to buy some make up; reviews from others always persuades me a little bit more!


 

chloerebeccablog

Although Chloe doesn't have millions of followers, she come across as super relatable, especially because she doesn't have a theme. Focussing on lifestyle, fashion and beauty, there are many images of her travels in various cities, in the UK, Hungary and Italy to name a few. She seems super positive and often engages with her followers in the comments. Definitely a summer lover, with lots of photographs of beers in the sun and general enjoyment of the longer days and better weather that we're having in the UK at the moment. I haven't followed her for that long, but I instantly liked her feed as she's keep it real; there's more to enjoy than an instagram theme.


 

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Book Review: Girl On a Train

 


Initially I wanted to read this book out of curiosity; there was a ridiculous amount of hype surrounding it and it seemed to be top of the book charts for months. For a new author, Paula Hawkins reached the writers dream pretty quickly; sadly I found the writing style to be incredibly irritating. The use of three narrators worked well, I actually do like seeing a situation from different perspectives but I wasn't keen on the fact that every narrator was female and completely unreliable. As a reader we're introduced to Rachel, an alcoholic; Megan, a cheat and Anna, a liar. As a woman myself, I found myself hating that each of these women were solely dependant on the male characters, who were portrayed as strong and capable. The male and female dynamics really focussed on the males being the dominant and the females being submissive. Only one female seemed to have her head screwed on, which was Rachel's landlady and friend, Cathy; but even she was reliant on her boyfriend so there was no real strong female lead, which disappointed me from a female author. I feel like I was expecting more from the book, given all of the hype surrounding it. 

All of the characters were majorly unlikeable; probably the most bearable was Rachel as although her reasoning was a little off, she did at least try to do the right things, even if she went about it in the wrong way. However, I feel like her narrative was fairly unbelieveable; yes, I understand that using an unreliable narrator is a fantastic literary technique (when used correctly) but with Rachel it was a bit strange that at the start of the novel she apparently couldn't remember anything when she had been drinking to suddenly towards the end of the novel she could remember everything. Actually, Rachel's drinking is the key to most of the novel; whenever she drinks she's a different person. She's definitely braver when drunk, but ultimately her mental health isn't the best due to her alcoholism. For much of the novel I was frustrated due to her lack of realisation for what drinking cost her; a husband, a job. Alcohol makes her a liar too, pretending to her landlady that she goes to work everyday by getting the same two trains in and out of London that she did when she had a job and a routine.

From the train window she watches her ex-husband with his new wife and family, as well as a couple whose lives she imagines inside her head in their houses. On the surface, Rachel has massive mental health issues, spurred on from her drinking. When you realise that the house she watches was once he own home, you can understand why she feels so pained but strangely obsessed with peering in. She's clearly still grieving for her old life. There are several twists and turns in this novel, but overall it's very slow to gather any momentum. I was actually relieved when the novel started to fully shape, although it was fairly predictable throughout. It was fairly interesting to view the novel from Megan's perspective due to her involvement within the murder; a serial adulteress with no inhibitions about lying and cheating to her own husband so she's equally as unreliable as Rachel is to the reader. Even worse, Megan lives a few doors down from Anna, the third narrator. Married to Rachel's ex-husband, she is also a liar and a cheat as she made her way from mistress to wife and mother. Most of the novel focusses on the feud between Rachel and Anna over their shared love of Tom.

The three person narrative was carried out smoothly and worked well, but the three characters were so similar at times that they almost morphed into the same person, making it difficult to distinguish between them. At times the phrases and descriptions of the same event were almost identical; I found the characters irritating, making the book difficult to read. I feel like Hawkins used the idea of the broken woman to keep interest open in the novel; I enjoyed it more towards the end of the book, once it had picked up the pace a little and I was actually surprised in the end. I thought it was predictable but I was very wrong in terms of who actually committed the murder; early on, I assumed I knew the whole story straightaway and I was pleasantly surprised to have been wrong. If you plan to read this book, try and read it with an open mind, rather than following a 'whodunnit' set of theories. My main issue with the book is how women and men are represented, they're shallow and lacking any real substance. Likewise, alcoholism is a genuine issue mentioned regularly throughout the book, but it's also skimmed over in a sense; Rachel just suddenly ceases drinking, which in reality, seems completely unbelievable for someone so reliant on it. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. It didn't live up to the hype or my expectations, which was a shame.


 

Monday, 22 May 2017

Happy Things #21

 


1. So I've made plans to see my best friend at the weekend, which is always a pleasure. It's lovely to have that person who you can rely on and can effortlessly cheer you up.

2. My reading list is literally growing every single day; it's keeping me busy and is a fantastic way of keeping my mind in a positive place. I'm learning that the more I use distractions, such as reading, my mind feels much more at ease with life. It's a good feeling.

3. This is a very strange contribution to this list of positivity, but I'm actually really happy with how my eyebrows are looking at the moment. After years of overplucking I think I've finally found the perfect medium between too thin and too bushy, which is exciting.

4. I've got a lot of blog posts planned and I'm excited to see them posted over the next week; blogging is such a good hobby and it's really changed my life over the past year. I'm getting more involved with the blogging community and I'm enjoying it so much.

5. The weather seems to indicate that summer is definitely on its way; the blue skies, the sun... I'm enjoying the nicer weather as my mood definitely improves when the weather is lovely.


 

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Beauty Confessions Tag

 


Hello again! I found out about this tag from lifewithb and actually I've completed another tag through reading her blog, which is awesome by the way! I love getting inspiration from other bloggers to post on my own blog. I think most people have a bit of a beauty addiction and I'm certainly no exception to that; this tag was super fun to do and very easy because there's so much to talk about. If you're interested in beauty, keep on reading!


1. What is your biggest beauty product addiction? (Lippies, blushes, highlighter, bronzer, mascara, etc.)

I'm in love with pretty eyeshadow palettes at the moment, but honestly I think it's lipsticks as I own so many lip products. I have so many liquid lipsticks and lipsticks but literally when I swatched my lipstick collection for a post I realised how many lipsticks I actually have, as well as how many of them are red, haha! I am trying to buy more of a range of products and shades now.

2. How many products do you have from your addiction?

I actually have so many lipsticks... In total there's probably at least 15, which doesn't sound like much but without realising I always seem to end up having more lipsticks suddenly appear! Aside from lipsticks and considering my whole make up collection I definitely own too much stuff. I have a stacking make up box and five make up bags as well as pots full of brushes. The addiction is real!

3. What is one type of beauty product you hate? (highlighters, hairspray, etc.)

I'm not a fan of hairspray, although that's likely from years of overuse from when I was a dancer. I'm also not a lover of cream products, like cream blusher or highlighter because they feel super sticky on my skin; another thing I hate is too dark foundations... Even most ivory shades are too dark for me, which is a nightmare.

 4. What has been your biggest challenge in beauty? (ex: a technique you learned or leaving a beauty comfort zone)

It has to be the perfect cat eye flick! One eye is always perfect and then the other just won't ever match. It irritates me every single time. Aside from that, I have my boyfriend to thank for encouraging me to understand that less is more. I know that sounds a bit pathetic but I used to wear a complete full face all day, every day and my skin was so bad. Now I let my skin breathe much more often, but at the same time it's hard to be fine with wearing only a bit of concealer and mascara for everyday. It sounds so self centred but it was so difficult for me to learn to love my natural face!

5. What is one beauty comfort zone you don’t ever think you’ll leave?

In all honesty the one product I need in my life is mascara, I really love the ways it opens up my eyes and helps me to look more awake. Another thing I love is a classic red lip, I always feel so sophisticated and 10 times prettier when I've got a red lipstick on for a night out.

6. What is one beauty thing you suck at? (ex: eyeliner like cat eye or taking your makeup off at the end of the day, etc.)

I mentioned in another of these answers that I'm awful at the cat eye look; one eye is always good and the other awful. I'm also not great at contouring; I'm always trying to improve my technique and I've watched countless YouTube videos on how to contour like a boss but I always end up looking like I've got three different shades in straight lines across my face... Even blending doesn't work wonders for me.

7. What is one thing in beauty that you don’t understand its hype? (Technique, trend, etc.)

There are so many weird trends and techniques around at the moment, like using a tampon and other crazy stuff as a beauty blender... I'm always freaked out by textured nails too, like velvet or fur and stuff. I have no idea why but I just hate it!

I have no one in mind to tag to complete this 'tag', but if another blogger is reading this, I'd recommend this tag as not only is it fun to complete it's another post idea which is always great! :)


 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Book Review: Big Little Lies

 


Hello again! Today's post is another book review; I really enjoy sharing the books I read with you all. I decided to read Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty after a workmate recommend it. I had super high hopes for it, but I'll admit that for the first few chapters I wasn't keen. The narrative style is a very modern writing technique; using internet 'chat' style statements at the end of each chapter to create speculation about the bigger picture. Once I got further into the story I quickly became addicted. The three main characters (Jane: a young single mother, Madeline: passionate, girly and begrudging, Celeste: showstoppingly beautiful) although seemingly quite extreme, are definitely relatable and work well as a trio. All of the characters that are introduced throughout the book are known to each other through their children being at the same school; on the surface this book comes across as being yet another kindergarten group of cliques who all believe their child is the most amazing, fantastically talented five year old to ever attend school.

However, through the snippets of information provided in each chapter and the statements suggesting that something big will be revealed at the school fundraising night it's almost impossible not to become curious; this book becomes fascinating very quickly. It deals with many taboo topics, such as domestic abuse, bullying, rape amongst several others. There are many hints that all is not what it seems; it really pushes the idea that parents can be badly behaved and that can easily affect children. I found myself becoming increasingly frustrated by the snippets of information as they kept pointing to some kind of crime being committed, with no suggestion of who but a clear indication of when. With an obvious link to the title, the whole book focuses on the 'little lies' that we as people often tell others without thinking of the consequences; leading up to the big event at the end of the book there are all kinds of lies and exaggerations being spread by main and minor characters. I found book incredibly gripping the further I read; there was so many unexpected twists, I never knew what was going to happen next... Even my best guesses were completely wrong!

It was a little confusing at time because there was such a vast array of characters being introduced at different points; I really liked the writing style once I got into the action and focussed on what was going on. The whole book was littered with clues, but because as a reader you saw so many different perspectives and ideas it was so hard to keep up with the clues and piece them together. Moriarty has a way of making all of the characters connect in ways that they don't even realise whilst on the surface being polar opposites; once the characters were established this was an excellent way of piecing the clues together. By using the present to relay the lead up of events to the fundraiser night alongside statements from witnesses of a murder from the same event from the past really messes with you when you're reading. This book really highlighted how you can never really know what is going on in someone's else life, no matter how close you think you are to them. For a crime novel, it was very light in places and very dark in others; I was gripped after several chapters, once I the key players were fully established.

Overall, I found once the plot started to shape itself, the amount of suspense was unfathomable; the ending was hugely unexpected and satisfying. I started the book not impressed at all, but I'm glad that I persevered as I ended up loving it. I wasn't a fan of the witness statements; yes they were useful for keeping up to date with the plot but the layout was confusing. As a reader you need to keep on track with all of the characters but it wasn't easy as there were so many players and perspectives provided throughout; it's only when the main characters are set in that the plot begins to make sense. Moriarty seamlessly weaves many important topics into this novel, using a variety of perspectives to do so. What I particularly liked about the way that Moriarty presented the murder was that the identity of both the murderer and the murdered were left to guesswork until the very end, with no disappointment at all. I would recommend reading this as although it's a slow start, once the action begins it's impossible not to engage with its enticing mystery, yet humourous (at times) aspects of storytelling. It's a fascinating read and wholly realistic; the majority of the characters will remind you of someone you've met at sometime in your life and that's what makes this book such a pleasure.


 

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

May Playlist!

 


I love popping my iPod onto shuffle and going for a walk, or listening to music when I'm on public transport. I'm aware that my iPod is super old and unfortunately will one day not work anymore, but until that time I'm loving the nostalgic value of using a device does purely what it sets out to. It saves my phone battery and doesn't need much tlc to keep it going. Plus, the bright red of this generation was always my favourite. My inner child is very happy with it. 


1. Stay - Zedd & Alessia Cara
2. No More Sad Songs - Little Mix
3. Move Your Body - Sia 
4. First Time - Kygo & Ellie Goulding
5. Hard Times - Paramore
6. Castle on the Hill - Ed Sheeran 
7. Otherside - Red Hot Chili Peppers
8. Plug In Baby - Muse
9. Burn - Ellie Goulding
10. Touch - Little Mix
11. City of Angels - 30 Seconds to Mars
12. Scars to Your Beautiful - Alessia Cara
13. The Zephyr Song - Red Hot Chili Peppers
14. I'm Just a Kid - Simple Plan
15. U + Ur Hand - P!nk


 

Monday, 15 May 2017

Happy Things #20

 


1. So, as of today I'm starting with a #MondayMotivation feel; I've started a diet... Which is a massive step for me, as I've avoided dieting for a long time. It's nothing drastic, but I'm trying to eat more healthily and not fill my body with crap food all the time. I'm planning to eat more fruit and vegetables as a positive change to my dietary habits.

2. I'm planning to finish my current read this week, so that I can post another book review and attempt to make my way through my absolutely massive book list (I swear it grows longer every week).

3. My gym membership seems to be taking its life to go through, so whilst I wait I have decided take Scarlett for more walks as that's a super simple and easy way to fit in some excerise and keep my dog happy too. Although she hates the rain, so hopefully the weather will improve soonish!

4. I've got some time off to look forward to in the summer which is lovely; I cannot explain how nice it is to have a job that pays you when you want or need a holiday! Even if it's just chilling out at home, I'm so excited to have some time off in the coming months.

5. I have so many more blog posts planned out and ready to write this week, fingers crossed they'll be ready for publishing later on in the week. I'm really enjoying blogging at the moment, it's definitely the best hobby that I could've started. I'm loving getting to know other bloggers too!

 
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