The Best Holiday Reads

The Best Holiday Reads

I’m back with a bit of a different post today, although it is the type of post that I was planning on writing a lot about on my blog, a post about books. As I’ve just been on holiday (did I mention that I went to Corfu?) and it’s summer holiday season, I thought I would create a post with my holiday reading recommendations. I don’t know about you, but when I go on a beach/pool holiday, I spend 80% of my time during the day reading (the other 20% is spent eating and sleeping) and so I’m always prepared with lots of books. I find it a little bit scary taking books on holiday because I’m always worried that I won’t like a book but will have to carry on reading it or, even worse, won’t have anything to read at all. If you feel the same way, this post might be useful in providing you some trustworthy recommendations so you’re not left in this position. My recommendations are split up into three sections, each with some books that I’ve already read. I hope you find this post helpful and be sure to let me know if you’d like to hear more about my opinion on any of the books or, if you live near me, if you’d like to borrow one of the books from me! Here are my categories…

1. The Page-Turner

This category is probably the one that most people’s holiday book of choice falls into. Page-turners are easy-going, addictive and offer some serious escapism, which is perfect for a relaxing holiday where you’re going to be spending a lot of time reading. I always bring book like this on holiday with me because I tend to read more ‘serious’ and ‘literary’ books throughout the year. I’m very aware that this sounds snobby but I can assure you it’s not at all. I HATE book snobbery and people who refuse to consider any book as worthy if it hasn’t been nominated for a Man Booker or was published post-20th century because I think, not only is this attitude offensive to those who read these books and, in many ways, inherently classist, but there’s nothing wrong with reading a book purely for entertainment purposes and nothing else. Plus, these books are often interesting analytically and contextually because of their genre. Anyway, that was quite a tangent. But yes, I always read a book like this on holiday because I do tend to reach for more literary books throughout the year because they’re usually the ones that have been on my reading list for the longest and I’m really eager to read and because my reading time is limited during the year, I really have to narrow down my choices. Anyway, here are some of my favourite page-turners to devour on holiday this year:

My Number One Choice- The Millennium Series by Stieg Larsson 

This series is better known as the one that starts with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. This trilogy is often hailed as the biggest page-turner and if you read it, you’ll find out why. I won’t even try and explain the plot because it’s beyond complicated but they are crime novels and they are so gripping. They’re also pretty long so are perfect for your holiday as they will take you a while to get through if you’re just reading a chapter every night. I’m currently half way through the last novel and am thoroughly enjoying it as a form of escapism (along with my other favourite escapist activity, Love Island). A fourth book has recently been added to the series written by a different author, as Larsson died before the books were published. I don’t really know how I feel about that and whether I read it or not will depend on how much of a cliff-hanger the ending of the third novel is.

Other Page-Turners I Like (Perhaps More Literary Than I Previously Mentioned)-

  • The Power by Naomi Alderman
  • Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
  • 1984 by George Orwell

2. The Classic Novel That You’ve Never Got Round To Reading

As mentioned, a holiday is a time where lots of reading can be done quickly. So it makes sense to read that book that you’ve always wanted to read but have been putting off due to something like it’s length. You might think that a classic book is a little bit of a heavy choice for a relaxing holiday but I can guarantee that you’ll enjoy it a lot more if you read it all in one go, rather than over a month or so at home, so a holiday is the perfect chance to do so.

My Number One Choice- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’m choosing this purely because it’s my favourite classic book and I’ve read it on holiday a few times before. There are many more chunkier books that perhaps might be a better choice for your holiday but this one is short and sweet and will certainly allow for other holiday reads if the thought of taking just one classic on holiday scares you.

Other Classic Novels I Like:

  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  • Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • Lolita by Vladamir Nabokov
  • Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

3. The Non-Fiction Book That Makes You Think

Once again, this sounds a bit heavy for a holiday. But these are the types of books that need to be gobbled up in one go in order for them to have their full effect. Putting them down and coming back to them just won’t make you think as much as reading them in the space of a few days will. Plus, reading a book like this might be something you’ve been putting off so this is a good time to pack it in your suitcase, leaving you with no other choice than to read it.

My Number One Choice- Sapiens by Yual Noah Harari

I read this book on holiday last year and it’s honestly so brilliant. It’s a reflection on the history of the entire world. Educational and thoughtful, it is the ultimate book to make you think. If you read this on holiday, you will come back home feeling differently about the world and knowing more about it than you did before. I’m looking forward to reading the second instalment to this book on holiday this year!

Other Non-Fiction Books To Make You Think:

  • The Anxiety Solution by Chloe Brotheridge
  • Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde
  • I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Women & Power by Mary Beard
  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
  • A Room Of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  • Revolution by Russell Brand

I hope you’ve found some reading inspiration for any upcoming holidays in this post! All of the books I’ve mentioned I have read and can thoroughly recommend but do do some extra research on any of the ones that I haven’t explained if they sound like they interest you. Happy holidays and happy reading!

My Morning Skincare and Beauty Routine (Cruelty Free)

Happy Friday! Today I’m going to be sharing with you my morning skincare and make-up routine. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really crappy at make-up so I always go for something natural and simple but I thought I’d share it anyway as I feel like I’m using some products that I love at the moment. I love skincare and find it super interesting but my morning skincare routine is also pretty simple, both for time purposes and because that’s what my skin seems to like. My evening skincare routine is much more complicated but I’m sure I’ll do a blog post on that soon. In case you’re wondering, I have oily, blemish-prone skin but it’s in the best condition it’s been in in a long time at the moment. Anyway here it is…

1. To start, I’ll wet my face with a flannel before using the Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser– my holy grail product. I’ve talked about this in detail in my blog post I wrote on the Glossier products that I own but it really is the perfect morning cleanser- so refreshing. If I’m going to be washing my hair that morning, I’ll use this in the shower but if not I just wash it off with a flannel, which works fine.

 

2.  Next, I spray my face with the Mario Badescu rosewater. I’m really not sure if this does anything but I love the smell and the feeling of it on my skin. It’s so refreshing in the morning and, because my evening skincare routine is quite de-hydrating, it’s a good way to really hydrate my skin at the beginning of the day.

3. The final step of my morning skincare routine (I told you it was basic) is this moisturiser from Lush called ‘Enzymion’. I’ve used it for years and, despite trying various other moisturisers, I always come back to it. It’s formulated for oily skin which makes it perfect for me and it smells of lemons which makes it really refreshing. It moisturises the skin without making you feel like you’ve got a heavy moisturiser on, which I like as I hate feeling like I have anything on my face.

4. Moving on to make-up, I’ve just started using The Ordinary Serum foundation in the shade 1.2N and I’m loving it. It’s similar to the Glossier ‘Perfecting Skin Tint’ but it’s a quarter of the price and has much better coverage. I like my coverage to be really light because, as mentioned, I don’t like feeling as though I have anything on my face, so on some days when I’m not really doing anything I do prefer the Glossier one. But overall, this is far better priced and covers up any imperfections, unlike the Glossier product. I usually just blend it in with an ELF blending brush.

5. The next step is bronzer although if I have any breakouts I’ll use the ELF concealer before this. I use the Urban Decay ‘Beached Bronzer’ which is buildable and so easy to apply. It’s not too dark or too light which means applying it is effortless and it never leaves any brown splodges on the top of my cheekbones.

6. After this I’ll either go in with a highlighter or with this Charlotte Tilbury blush stick– more often than not I use this as it’s much easier to apply than highlighter and makes for a more natural look. This one is in the shade ‘Moon Beach’ and it’s a kind of coral-y shade that definitely comes with a glow once applied. Super easy to use (can you see a theme here within my routine…) and something I actually get complimented on fairly often, which is always nice! Plus, it smells really good.

7. For someone who is lazy with their make-up, I wear eyeshadow disproportionately often, pretty much every day. I’ve never been able to do liquid eyeliner and so eyeshadow is the something interesting and varied that I like to add to my make-up routine. My favourite palette for every day is the ‘Sweet Peach’ palette by Too Faced. It has a variety of different shades but I usually stick to the lighter ones, although I am partial to some glitter. My favourite and most worn shade is ‘Bellini’, which I’m wearing in these photos, which is a shimmery dark pink shade that I think brings out the blue in my eyes.

8. Another holy grail product for me is the Anastasia Beverly Hills ‘Brow Wizz’ in soft brown. For some reason that is completely unknown to me, I have random holes in my eyebrows and this brow pencil allows me to fill them in quickly and seamlessly. I also have bushy eyebrows that grow back quicker than I care to pluck them so an eyebrow brush is necessary for me everyday, even when I’m not wearing make-up. The only annoying thing about the ‘Brow Wiz’ is that the packaging breaks so easily (as you can see here) which means the spoolie brush that comes with it always disappears within the first week of me owning it.

9. For mascara, I *usually* use the Urban Decay ‘Perversion’ which is cruelty free however I didn’t have it with me when I was taking these photos so I’m just using a random tester- sorry about that! I really don’t have much to say about it as a mascara anyway apart from that it works and it’s cruelty free and vegan, which is enough for me! I honestly don’t know what makes a good mascara and usually can’t tell one from another.

10. Finally, I use what is perhaps my favourite beauty product, the Glossier ‘Balm Dot Com’ in the shade/flavour (?) Birthday. It adds a slight shimmer and tastes incredible and is so soothing for my perennially dry lips. I don’t usually wear lipstick day-to-day so I just slap a bit of this on and I’m good to go.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post despite the fact that I am very apparently not that knowledgable about make-up! I do enjoy doing it and I especially enjoy doing skincare, so expect an evening skincare routine very soon where I can go a bit more into depth about my skin and what works for it. Let me know if you use any of the products I’ve mentioned and what your holy grail products are in the comments! Also if you are interested in any of the Glossier products I mentioned, you can click here to get 10% off your order!

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Making Your UNI Room Feel Like Home

Moving into UNI halls is most people’s first experience of living away from home, and what a weird experience it is. It’s the only time in your life when you’re thrown into living with people who you’ve never ever met before and then expected to become best friends with them straight away. Not only this, but your home is literally a corridor. It’s a pretty weird experience when you think about it. It’s a really fun and exciting one too but something I really struggled with (and sometimes still do) is not feeling at home. The amount of conversations I had with people during the first few weeks/months of UNI about the fact that we all felt like we were on a seriously long primary-school residential trip was crazy. Choosing to live in UNI halls means you have little to no choice about what your living space is going to look like, which can make it feel a little weird (especially when you go into your flatmates bedrooms and realise they’re completely identical). This is why it’s really important to make it your own. ‘Home’ is different for everyone but these are some of the things I’ve done to make my UNI room feel a little more ‘me’ and I’m hoping they’ll be helpful for others too (they’re going to be more catered towards living in halls but will obviously work for accommodation in 2nd year and beyond too).

1. Flowers

I only realised the power of fresh flowers fairly recently after I was bought some in February. They brightened up my room so much and  the concept of having something that is alive and growing in your room is such a positive one, even if you’re only thinking about it sub-consciously. They don’t have to be expensive either. These cost £4 from Tesco and will probably last about 2 weeks and you can get them for even cheaper than that. Plus, I didn’t even need to buy a vase as this jug that my flatmates stole from Wetherspoons works perfectly.

2. Fairy Lights

This one is a bit of a cliché for students but for good reason! Fairy lights make your room feel so much cosier and look so much prettier. I particularly love these heart attachments I picked up from IKEA to go on top of them. Since buying these, I’ve definitely started enjoying the appearance of my room a little bit more. I’d also really recommend buying a lamp! It seems simple but it’s easy to forget and having a lamp is so much more cozy and less harsh than having your ceiling light on at all times.

3. Decorating My Walls

This is probably the easiest way to make your room feel like your own. As you can see, the designers of my accommodation decided to go for these prison-style brick walls so I was desperate to get them covered. Whether it’s with posters, pages cut out from magazines or some of your own photos, in my experience, it’s best to cover as much wall space as possible. I picked this poster up on the first week of UNI at the student poster sale (really feeling like a walking, talking cliché in this post) and it was probably the first thing I did to make the room feel like my own. Also, a quick tip, most UNI rooms don’t let you use blue tac so get your hands on some adhesive strips! They work in just the same way and won’t leave any marks on your walls.

4. Adding A Personal Touch

Pack as many personal photos as you can when you go to UNI. They’re such a comfort to have around your room and will always remind you of the people you love if your ever feeling down. I put mine predominantly by my bed as I most often feel down when falling asleep but the more around your room the better!

5. Bed Sheets

This is a super simple one as obviously everyone has to buy bed sheets, so make sure you buy ones you like if you can! They’ll be on your bed from the minute you arrive at UNI and will stay there for the rest of the year, so it’s important to have ones you like and, in my opinion, ones that really brighten up your room. I was lucky enough to receive this blanket and pillow hand-made as a gift from my wonderful Aunty Chris specifically for moving to UNI and it’s the best gift I could have ever asked for as it always reminds me of family and, clearly, brightens up in my room in every way possible. (Also, there is no shame in having a cuddly toy or two as exhibited by my bunny that I got last Christmas who has also significantly helped in making my room feel more homely).

I hope you’ve enjoyed having a little look into my UNI room. Living in halls has been a weird experience for me but having a room I actually like has made it so much better and really improved the experience. So take some time to think about what you want in your room and how you want it to look next year as it really will make a difference! I’d also love to here what you do to make your room your own! Here are some more photos of my room if you’re feeling a little bit nosey:

The aforementioned lamp along with my record player, some ‘coffee table books’, and some gold bowls, one of which I got in a charity shop for £1!
If you ever feel bad about your UNI room, just be thankful you don’t have these god awful curtains. Also, top tip, keep fruit as the only food in your room so if you want to snack it’s more likely to be on something healthy!
My studying area is happily an organised mess.
An illustration of the Liverpool skyline that always reminds me of home, along with some great notebooks.

 

Pretty ornaments to make my room, well, prettier. Also, invest in a diffuser! I always get compliments on the nice smell in my room and it really makes me feel like I’ve got my life together.
I keep these photos right next to my bed to remind me of all my amazing friends and family (and my cat of course- notice how frequently he features).

Three Days In Edinburgh (A Mini Guide)

At the end of March, Sam and I spent 3 days in Edinburgh as part of my birthday present and I absolutely adored the city. So, I want to share with you the places we stayed, ate, shopped and everything else that we got up to! This post is coming to you a month after the trip because I was originally planning on doing this post with the photos I took on my film camera during the trip however that roll of film unfortunately came back blank (*sob*) due to issues with my camera. So instead, I’m including this video from the trip of some clips that I took on my camera whilst I was there and have put together. I hope this video makes up for the lost photos, despite the combination of quality that isn’t the best and my shaky hand,and that you find some recommendations from this post if you’re planning a trip to Edinburgh- I’d thoroughly suggest going!

Where We Stayed

Hotel Motel One Edinburgh-Royal: This hotel was in the perfect location. Sam actually picked the hotel and he couldn’t have done a better job. It was right in between Princes Street and the Royal Mile, the areas of Edinburgh where we spent most of our time. We didn’t eat at the hotel as we wanted to make the most of some of the amazing restaurants in Edinburgh (as you’ll see in the next section) but the rooms were really clean and comfortable and we had a great view of Princes Street and the Scott Monument, which was lovely (FYI, though, you do have to request a room with a view).

Where We Ate

Loudons: We stopped here for brunch when we first arrived and WOW did it make a good first impression. I had the most incredible vegan pancakes I’ve ever had covered in chocolate sauce which I’m still thinking about a month later. It was the furthest restaurant from the centre out of all the ones we went to but it was SO worth a little bit of an extra walk. FYI: They cater for meat-eaters, veggies and vegans- something that is necessary for Sam and I as he eats meat and I am vegan, so this applies for most of the cafes and restaurants we visited.

Illegal Jacks: After an early morning and a long day on our first night, we turned to Deliveroo and ordered from this Mexican. It’s similar to Barburitto but they provide a lot more veggie/vegan options including vegan cheese and vegan ‘mince’. It was really satisfying and affordable (although they did mess up my order a little bit, which was a bit of a shame!)

Pumpkin Brown: This was the only totally vegan place that we ate at and it was so good. They aim to provide healthier options which Sam and I were both craving after eating so much ‘junk food’ the day before. We both had their acai bowl which was absolutely delicious and so well-presented!

Dishoom: Don’t even get me started on this restaurant. I wouldn’t stop talking about it for weeks after returning home. It’s serves food originating from Bombay, so is basically a very specific type of Indian. I’m not one for Indian food- it’s probably my least favourite type of cuisine- but the food here was unique to anything I’ve ever tasted and our waitress, Louise, was incredibly helpful. They have a few locations around the UK, mostly in London obviously, and I can’t recommend trying it out enough if you get the chance to do so.

Hendersons: This vegetarian cafe has various locations around Edinburgh. I tried it out for some breakfast, picking up a vegan hot cross bun, which was delicious. We then headed back there later in the day to share a vegan brownie which wasn’t the best- it tasted a little bit too much like it was trying to be healthy, which is just not what I was in the mood for. However, I would have really liked to try out more of the food and I definitely think it’s worth a visit for veggies.

Urban Angel: This cafe is located near Princes Street and I had some delicious soup and a smoothie here on our last day. Although the food was good and the interiors are nice and cozy, I do remember this being *slightly* overpriced compared to some of the other places we ate at. Plus, I think the breakfast options looked better than the lunch so maybe stop here for breakfast if you do at all.

What We Did

Sights and Museums:

Edinburgh Castle: This was the first place we went when we arrived in Edinburgh, after eating obviously, and it’s kind of something you just have to do when you visit. If you’re interested in Scottish history you’ll probably find it really interesting but, to be honest, it didn’t blow me away, especially considering that our tickets combined cost almost £40. However the views are really amazing from the castle and it’s nice to walk round and, like I said, something I feel like you almost have to do on your inaugural visit to Edinburgh.

Calton Hill: We didn’t quite make it up Arthur’s Seat, due to time and weather constraints. So, instead, we opted for Calton Hill, which still provides a really beautiful view of Edinburgh and is really easy to walk to and ‘climb’ (I put climb in inverted commas because there really isn’t any climbing involved).

Scottish National Gallery: I actually headed here alone because Sam wasn’t feeling well and I really enjoyed it. I, unfortunately, often feel very unable to appreciate art as much as some other people and so I’m always sceptical about art museums. But this one had some really beautiful pieces as well as incredible interior design, which I very much am able to appreciate.

Camera Obscura: We weren’t sure whether we were going to enjoy visiting this museum of optical illusions but, personally, I thought it was so much fun! It provided lots of funny moments (like the mirror maze and the moment when a man put his middle finger up at the street cameras they have installed for museum-goers to see). And there were also really interesting parts, such as a ‘virtual’ tour of Edinburgh through the mirror the museum has on a pole out of its roof- I’ve explained that terribly but I would recommend it, especially if you’re trying to escape the rain like we were.

The Writer’s Museum: As a lover of literature, I was a little bit underwhelmed by this. It was kind of just celebrating three Scottish authors, which I guess I should have guessed would have been the case from its name, but I was hoping it would have been more of a celebration of Scottish literature in general. It was still really interesting though and would be especially so if you are interested in the authors it is commemorating.

Shopping:

Jenners: Jenners is a huge department store on Princes Street that looks really beautiful from the outside, which is what led us to go inside. If you’ve got a lot of money to spend, this is the place for you. If not, just do what I did and browse all the designer clothes like you can afford them and enjoy wandering around.

Anthropolige: This was the first time I’d ever been to an Anthropologie store as they don’t have any near where I live and it was a beautiful experience. They have such an amazing accumulation of things and I ended up picking up a sausage-dog printed tea-towel for my brother’s birthday present. If you haven’t been to Anthropologie before and are in Edinburgh, definitely go in, their price-range is really wide and there’s something for everyone and even if you don’t want to buy anything, I could have spent hours just browsing the store (to Sam’s annoyance).

PI-KU COLLECTIVE: This tiny little shop sells an extremely curated selection of truly amazing second-hand clothing. I visited after reading about it on Liv Purvis’ guide to Edinburgh. I could have tried on everything in the shop but we unfortunately didn’t have time for that and the clothes I did try on didn’t fit. But if I ever go to Edinburgh I’ll definitely go back because it really was an amazing curation of clothing.

Armstrong’s: This was hands down the best vintage shop I’ve ever been in. We spent ages in here (sorry Sam) and I could have bought much more than I did. I ended up buying a pair of Yves Saint Laurent jeans for £20 (!!!) which I featured in my post about the stigma surrounding blogging.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about what I got up to in Edinburgh and that it’s encouraged you to book a trip to Edinburgh! It’s one of my favourite cities I’ve ever been to and I’m hoping to back in the near future, maybe to the Edinburgh Fringe this time. Let me know in the comments if you have any other recommendations for Edinburgh, have been to any of the places I went or have any questions about them!

If you’d like to see what I wore in Edinburgh you can click here for day one or here for day three (the outfit from the 2nd day didn’t quite make it to the blog).

My Glossier Products Ranked

I’m really not that into beauty. Re-stocking my make-up bag is often more of a chore than something I look forward to (mostly due to the price of beauty products) and I really don’t know much about how to apply make-up well. Skincare, on the other hand, I find really interesting. Trying out new skincare products is something I enjoy because it’s just so satisfying seeing improvements in my skin. If the choice was between a new cleanser or a new pair of jeans though, I’d be happy to stick with a crappy cleanser for a while. Fashion is my favourite thing to spend money on without a doubt. So I never thought I’d be as excited as I am about a beauty brand until I discovered Glossier.

I don’t know what it is about Glossier that gets me so excited. I mean, I’m not going to lie, their incredible marketing definitely lures me in and, to be honest, I’m okay with that because I’m definitely more likely to be excited about a beauty product if I like the packaging (or if said product comes with stickers!!) even if that is a little vain. I’m also okay with being consciously allured by their branding because I don’t dislike any of the products I’ve tried and some of them, I absolutely love. I’m really behind the brand’s ethos ‘Beauty Products Inspired By Real Life’ and the effortlessness they ensure their products provide because, as I said, I’m not one to get particularly excited over make-up and I’m pretty crap at applying it so the simpler for me, the better. Plus, they’re cruelty free!

Since Glossier started shipping to the UK in October 2017, I’ve accumulated and tried out a fair amount of their products. So, seeing as I love their brand so much and have tried out rather a lot of their products, I thought I would rank them and talk a little bit about the pros and cons of each of them, in case you’re looking to make an order from Glossier and aren’t sure what to buy.

Also, before I start I should point out that I have oily, acne-prone skin so I’ll be talking about the effectiveness of the products for me with reference to this skin type

1. Milky Jelly Cleanser

My number one Glossier product has to be this cleanser. It hasn’t transformed my skin by any means but it is the cleanest, most refreshing cleanser I’ve ever used. I love using it in the shower in the morning as the texture and the smell really help to wake me up. It’s also nice and light which makes it perfect to use in the morning as well, because I don’t like to pile on too many heavy products before starting my day. I always look forward to using this cleanser and it is by far my favourite cleanser I’ve ever used- I’m already on my second bottle. I’ve never attempted to take my make-up off with it because I’ve read lots of reviews that say it isn’t great for that and I did initially use it in the night, but then swapped it for the Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel, because I felt like it was a bit too light for my evening skincare routine. This is the only thing about the cleanser that I’d described as a ‘con’ but really the fact that I don’t use it in the night is just personal preference and the because I own two cleansers and like to get my use out of both of them.

2. Birthday Balm Dotcom

This lip balm (or universal balm, as Glossier describe it) is so so great! It smells amazing, it hydrates my (extremely dry and often chapped) lips and the packaging is perfect. The only reason it’s not at the top of my list is because it’s unfortunately not vegan and I only purchase vegan beauty/skincare products (this was gifted to me and I use up all my gifts rather than letting them go to waste). It’s such a shame because this really is the perfect lip balm and I’m very very tempted to re-purchase it once it runs out even though it isn’t vegan. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it (which will hopefully be never)!

3. Glossier You Perfume

I was kindly gifted this perfume for Christmas and it has become my staple scent ever since- I mean, it’s the only perfume I own so I don’t really have much of a choice but I do genuinely love it and I know I would reach for it pretty much every day anyway even if I did own any other scents. This perfume is designed to smell different on everyone who uses it and the scent does feel very natural to me. If I could describe how I want to smell then I would describe this. I’m really not even going to even try to describe the scent because I really know nothing about perfumes so that would be totally pointless. But if you order anything from Glossier you can add a sample of the perfume to your order for free so you can try it out yourself. I would definitely recommend it as I always feel great when I’m wearing it and consistently receive compliments on it when I do.

4. Mega Greens Galaxy Pack Face Mask

First of all, sorry for the very crappy quality of this photo. I somehow lost the photos of this mask (and photos of the lipstick a little bit further down the page) and had to re-take them without natural light so I could get this blog post up in time and my camera’s focus is not great without natural light (or even in natural light to be honest). Anyway, I’ve been using this mask for a few months and I’ve definitely noticed that my skin has improved. I started using a variety of new skincare products all at the same time though, so I can’t be sure that it was this mask that has significantly improved my skin, although I do genuinely feel like it’s helped. It stings a little while it’s on my face, which I like because then I know it’s doing something, and my skin is visibly brighter after removing it. I also really like the packaging because, even if tubs aren’t the most hygienic form of packaging, I feel like I can use every last drop of the mask and am able to easily apply the right amount of mask to my face too. I don’t know if I’d re-purchase this mask because it’s not dramatically transformed my skin and I do like to try different masks because I find it fun/interesting. So I can’t say I am totally besotted with this product but it’s definitely worth trying.

5. Perfecting Skin Tint

This, along with the milky jelly cleanser, was the first Glossier product I purchased back in October and I’ve been using it as my base for make-up ever since. I really loved it at first. It’s super natural as in, it provides little to no coverage. But I really like this because I prefer a natural make-up look anyway and I don’t like how heavy foundation feels on my skin. I apply it with my fingers (which definitely works best because using an applicator means losing a significant amount of the product) which makes it super easy to apply and it’s pretty much impossible to get foundation lines- so it’s great in terms of ease. However, as I’ve got further through the product, I’ve been becoming more and more frustrated with the packing because it’s so difficult to get any of the product out of it. I also think it’s really overpriced for what it is and, after recently purchasing The Ordinary Serum Foundation, I think I much prefer the latter that I bought for a fraction of the price. So I don’t think I will be re-purchasing this foundation purely because of the price and the packaging but it did work well for me for a period of time.

6. Generation G in Zip

Again, sorry for the crappy quality of this photo. This lipstick is the most recent of my Glossier purchases and I do really like it. It’s a nice shade of red and it’s definitely buildable. However, it’s just not really what I expected. I was hoping for a more natural red and one that wouldn’t budge as easy as other red lipsticks do. I don’t really think it’s lived up to these expectations and isn’t much different other red lipsticks I’ve tried but it is great for a standard matte red lip and one that was definitely missing from my collection.

7. Priming Moisturiser 

In last place is the priming moisturiser. This just wasn’t for me. As mentioned, I have oily skin and this moisturiser, in my opinion, isn’t great for my skin type at all. I’m sure it would be great for people with less oily skin as it’s super convenient in that it’s a primer and moisturiser in one. I have tried it a few times underneath the Perfecting Skin Tint and it definitely improved the appearance of my skin for the first hour of wearing it, and helped the foundation to go on much more smoothly. However, after this hour, it would really just highlight my oiliness. So, not great for me, but it might work for you!

So we’ve reached the end of this fairly *comprehensive* (AKA rambly) post about the Glossier products I own. Please do let me know if you have any questions about any of the products I’ve mentioned. Or, if you’ve tried out any of Glossier’s products, I’d love for you to recommend me your faves in the comments. Next on my list to buy is the Solution, closely followed by at least one shade of Lidstar.

You can also click here to use my code to get 10% off your Glossier order (and if you use it, Glossier reward me with some store credit- which is nice for the both of us)!

My Ideal Saturday

 

Happy Friday! I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful sunny weather as much as I am and that you have a nice chilled out weekend ahead. Today I’m sharing an outfit from last Saturday and I’m going to be telling you all what I got up to during the day because it was my favourite type of Saturday ever- one that doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. I was intending on including some photos of the day taken on my film camera with this post however I actually took some film to get developed on Saturday and it came back totally blank- a sure sign that my camera was broke, so I couldn’t take any pictures on it that day. That was the only part of my Saturday that wasn’t ideal. Anyway, some photos of my outfit will have to do for now- hope you don’t mind!

I spent Friday night at my boyfriend’s so woke up at his beautiful house in the Georgian Quarter of Liverpool, where these photos were taken. The Georgian Quarter is one of my favourite areas of Liverpool and I am unbearably jealous that Sam is renting a room in a student house there this year! We spent the morning lazing around in bed, watching the end of the film from the night before whilst eating crumpets, before getting out of bed just before lunch time to get ready for the day.

We then headed into the centre of Liverpool and our first port of call was Max Spielmann to get my film developed. At this point I was cheery and excited to get my film back (notice how I’m going to skip over the part where I collect my film to make sure this post stays true to its title). We then headed to Pret-A-Manger for lunch. Pret is my favourite place to go for lunch as they do so many great vegan options and are always switching them up and the food tends to be quite healthy, which is always a plus.

Then came my favourite part of the day- shopping! I wasn’t intending to buy anything (famous last words) but did actually end up buying a chunky knitted jumper in Urban Outfitters (which isn’t really appropriate for this week’s heatwave but it’s never a bad time to buy a jumper in the UK) and some more summery pieces in Topshop including this polka dot crop top, which I’m already getting my wear out of thanks to the heatwave, and this skirt.

Before heading home, we stopped for some ice cream at Paolo & Donato’s- they do great vegan ice cream (and non-vegan too) and seeing as this was one of the warmest days so far this year (will I ever stop talking about the weather?), it felt wrong not to stop for ice cream. After we finished eating, we headed back home, stopping to take these photos on the way.

The evening seemed to come around really quickly, probably thanks to our late start, and pretty much as soon as I got back to Sam’s, I was leaving again to meet my friends for some food and drinks in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle. We started off in The Botanical Garden- an outdoor gin bar which is so picturesque (although, ironically, I don’t have a photo of it) and had such a nice atmosphere with great music. After one drink here, we crossed the road to the Baltic Market, a warehouse with various independent food stalls, a bar and live music. This is definitely one of my favourite spots in Liverpool and is just as good in the day as it is in the night so it’s definitely worth a trip. I enjoyed a delicious veggie burger and chips (not quite as healthy as my lunch) and spent the evening chatting (and singing) with my friends. I’ve felt so lucky to be able to spend so much time with my friends who have been part of my life for 8 years, some of them more than that, over the Easter break whilst being home from UNI. I’ve been wanting to write a post about valuing friendship (and especially female friendship) since starting my blog now because it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, so look out for that in the next few weeks (or possibly months depending on how efficient I am).

After my idea of a perfect day, I was home to my family and in bed by midnight, which honestly made it all the better because I bloody love a good early night (I’m such a 19 year old granny). I think I enjoyed this day so much because it was the perfect mixture of relaxed and busy, plus I got to spend time with lots of loved ones, and this is how I would spend every Saturday if I was able to.

I feel like I can’t just not talk about my outfit when all of the photos in this post are based around it, so I’ll tell you a bit about it. Starting from the bottom up, I recently picked up these Nike Cortez trainers in the ASOS sale because I’ve been looking for a pair of pastel-coloured trainers for a while now and these seemed to fit the bill perfectly. They are unbelievably comfortable. I am the most blister-prone person known to existence and I wore these for days at a time without breaking them in with no blisters in sight. I wasn’t expecting them to go so well with this top but they really do and I feel like these co-ordinating pastels are what make this outfit so spring-appropriate. I didn’t actually like these jeans/trousers from Topshop when they originally arrived on the post but, stupidly, I took the labels off and so couldn’t send them back. But they’ve actually really grown on me now and I felt confident in them all day. Although it’s not something that shows in my blog posts, I use tote bags almost every day because they’re so practical and easy to wear. This one I picked up at one of Black Honey’s shows a couple of years ago because I love the print (and the band) and it’s lasted so well- the cost per wear is probably down to less then a penny, thanks to how often I use it and the low price.

I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing about my ideal Saturday and it’s maybe given you some ideas as to how you can spend your weekend. I’d love to hear about what your perfect Saturday would sound like in the comments!

(Just a quick disclaimer- some of these photos were taken on my phone and others on my camera so sorry for the differences in quality/location!)

Top- Nobody’s Child (old, similar here)

Jeans- Topshop (only available in petite and tall now)

Gilet- Topshop (sold out and can’t find anything similar, sorry!)

Shoes- ASOS

Tote Bag- Black Honey Merchandise

Sunglasses- Warehouse (old, similar here and here)

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A Night and a Day in Stratford-upon-Avon

Almost 2 weeks ago now, I spent one night and one day (well, more like half a day) in Stratford-Upon-Avon with my mum and sister. The predominant reason that we visited this quaint little town was to watch Macbeth at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. But being the geeky Shakespeare lover that I am, I obviously took advantage of being in his birthplace and spent some time being a tourist and more money than I’d like to admit in gift shops.

Before I get on to chatting about what I got up to, I want to briefly talk about the play because it was incredible. It was by far the best Shakespeare production I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen a fair few) and felt even more extraordinary it being in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre itself. This production of Macbeth was reimagined as a psychological thriller which, this being one of my favourite genres of film, I obviously loved. Although it was a twist on the original play, the important themes were still there and Shakespeare’s exploration of gender expectations was highlighted, which I really enjoyed as I used Macbeth as part of a gender-focussed literary analysis last year for my EPQ during my A-Levels. I think the play is touring and being in shown in cinemas so if you do have chance to see it, I would definitely recommend doing so!

Because of bad traffic and a late check-in time, watching Macbeth, along with a meal at Zizi, was all our first day in Stratford-Upon-Avon consisted of. However, our second day in the town was lovely and sunny and felt like the first day of spring, so we took full advantage of that and explored the centre of the town a little bit more. Our day started back at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre as we wanted to visit the gift shop which had been closed by the time the play had finished the previous night. I spent an embarrassing amount of time in this gift shop, so much so that my mum and sister left me there after getting bored of me moaning about the lack of Othello merchandise (that’s probably the uncoolest thing I’ve ever said). I ended up picking up a Shakespeare themed tote bag (as pictured below), bookmark and badge along with a book called New Boy by Tracy Chevalier, which is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare Series and is a re-writing of Othello, something that I am particularly excited to read and will definitely share my thoughts on once I have read it.

We then headed over to Shakespeare’s Birthplace, which also had a super interesting museum on Shakespeare’s life and his works. Although the tickets are a little overpriced, I’d definitely recommend visiting. There were actors reading extracts from his plays and sonnets aloud in the garden, that I felt really justified the ticket price for me, especially because they were reading out my favourite sonnet (which is “My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun” if you’re interested, although you’re probably not!) And, yes, there was another gift shop, which I of course spent too long looking around, even though they stocked pretty much the same things as the theatre did, in hope of something Othello-themed but with no luck- I didn’t realise how underrated this play is until after this visit and now I’m determined to change that by mentioning it as many times as possible in this blog post!

We spent the remainder of the day looking around Stratford-Upon-Avon and shopping and even picked up some vegan fudge from Rolly’s Fudge that I was particularly pleased with (it was delicious). I’d definitely recommending visiting Stratford-Upon-Avon if you get a chance to, especially if you’re interested in literature or history. Although there isn’t a crazy amount of stuff to do there as far as I know, so I felt like we stayed there for long enough even if our visit was brief.

I’m going to talk briefly about my outfit, seeing as most of the photos in this post consist of me showing it off in various scenic spots, and because it’s the most summery outfit I’ve worn all year. I love this lemon yellow cami top that I got from the Alexa Chung X Marks and Spencer collection a few years ago for around £3.99 in the sale (I actually own it in three colours because of this price point). Its always a staple in my wardrobe when summer comes around and I especially love it over a white t-shirt, as I’ve styled it here. Paired with a pair of light-wash jeans and no layers other than a blazer (!!!), I think this makes for the perfect spring outfit and one I’m sure I’ll be replicating throughout spring and summer. Also, these sunglasses were an absolute steal from Primark at £2!

T-Shirt: Urban Outfitters (similar here)

Cami: Alexa Chung X Marks & Spencer

Jeans: Topshop

Blazer: Pull & Bear (similar here)

Shoes: Vans

Bag: Zara

Sunglasses: Primark (should still be in stock in store but for an online alternative, see here)

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My Thoughts On: ‘The Bell Jar’ by Sylvia Plath

DISCLAIMER: I wrote this blog post in January so excuse the seasonal references. I wanted to share it anyway because I really love this book.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath has been on my ‘to read’ list for as long as I can remember. I finally got round to reading it after my friend Bella bought me it for Christmas as part of our flat’s Secret Santa; she remembered me saying I wanted to read it a few months earlier which was so thoughtful. I wanted to read it as soon as I could now I actually had my hands on my own copy and started it right at the beginning of January, making it the first book I’ve read in 2018.

It was actually a lot like what I was expecting but I guess that’s because I’ve read quite a bit about it during the years I’ve spent wanting to actually read it. I knew it’s themes included mental health and being a woman, which is the main reason why I wanted to read it as these are things that I find really interesting to read about and can often relate to portrayals of them in fiction.

What I didn’t know though is that the novel is partly set in New York. This is something that I really enjoyed about it. Depictions of New York in literature always seem quite vivid and intriguing for me, maybe because its one of the only American cities I’ve visited and a place that has always fascinated me. Esther’s experiences of New York reminded me a little of Patti Smith’s descriptions of being a woman in the city in her book ‘Just Kids’ and, that being a novel I love, this is definitely something that I found really enjoyable about the novel.

Plath’s writing style in this text is something that I also really enjoyed. Its really personal and as a reader, I really felt like I was inside Esther’s head which was important in ensuring I could understand why the events of her life were affecting her as they did. I also think the portrayal of Esther’s deteriorating mental health was realistic and truthful and allowing us to see things from Esther’s point of view might give the reader a better understanding of why and how people suffer with mental health issues.

I also often find that in literature that deals with mental health there is one big ,significant event that causes someone to have mental health problems. Whereas in The Bell Jar we see how different aspects of Esther’s life, each of them holding different levels of significance, affect her, rather than one big devastating event. Again, from my experience, I think this is a much more realistic depiction of mental health that allowed me to empathise with Esther a lot.

I don’t think I have much else to say about the novel apart from the fact that I really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t say it had me captivated or place it up there with some of my favourite novels but I gave it 5 stars on GoodReads and honestly cannot find a fault in it. It’s an important novel with regards to it’s portrayals of mental health and women’s lives in the mid-twentieth century. But it’s also an intriguing read, with fairly easy language and regular chapters which actually encourages me to read a novel so much more frequently as it gives me places to start and stop which makes picking up a book much less intimidating.