Sunday, 12 June 2016

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED

Hello! If you have stumbled upon this blog, it and all of its posts have moved to aimeebarnes.wordpress.com. See you there!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

MAC LIPSTICK REVIEW | Aimee

Hello everyone! 

Those that know me know that I absolutely love my Mac lipsticks! They are so gorgeous and I definitely protect them with my life.

I've been 'collecting' these lipsticks since around October time, and today I thought I'd show you my opinion on what I've collected so far.

Reviews of the colours are below, if you'd like to see what they look like then you can watch the following video.




Frost - Meltdown: This is the most subtle colour I own, it's extremely gorgeous all year round and is definitely my go-to shade. It's super easy to wear and goes with almost any outfit. It has a creamy texture and isn't drying to wear, it's easy to apply, goes onto the lips smoothly and is also easy to remove. It's not the most durable but as it's a 'frost' and those aren't particularly pigmented it's very easy to re-apply. If you're not a re-apply kind of girl you're also in luck with this shade as it fades evenly and you can leave it to fade off naturally if you want to, without looking ridiculously patchy.

This lipstick gets a 10/10, I would highly recommend adding this to your make-up collection!

Frost - Bronze Shimmer: Not for the faint of heart this colour is exactly what it says on the tin, a bronze-gold shimmery lipstick. Not a daytime look in my opinion, apart from maybe at christmas time. However, this looks gorgeous when done right, I usually save this one for nights-out as it's not exactly a natural-looking colour. It's not quite as easy to apply as Meltdown and it's definitely not as subtle. I recommend using a lip scrub to exfoliate your lips before applying this one and/or using a good lip liner as a base otherwise you may end up looking a little dry and patchy.

Matte - Mocha: This and Meltdown were the first Mac lipsticks I ever bought, and to this day they remain my favourites. Mocha is everything Meltdown is just in a different colour. It isn't drying, it's sophisticated and gorgeous. Definitely my go-to when I want something slightly less subtle than Meltdown but something that suits me just as much. This, as with all of these lipsticks, probably will not work with all looks and skin tones, but if you have a skin-tone similar to mine, I definitely recommend giving this one a try. Once again this is a lipstick that fades evenly so when I forget to re-apply (which is often) I don't look like a complete mess!

Matte - Ruby Woo: Ahh the famous Ruby Woo. This one I acquired when looking for my first red by Mac, I wasn't at all sure what direction I wanted to go in but when a colleague told me this was a best seller, I decided to trust the numbers and give it a go for myself. I will say the colour is stunning, it's vibrant, it suits my skin tone, but its downfall is in the application department. I find this lipstick to be extremely dry which makes it a little difficult to apply. I find I have to wet my lips or somehow soften the lipstick before application. If you're looking for a moisturising lipstick, this is definitely not one for you, but like I said, the colour is amazing and that's enough for me.

Matte - So Chaud: This is another red but with more of an orange undertone. It tends to be that I save Ruby Woo for nights-out and this is the one that I'll apply during the day when I'm feeling particularly confident with my make-up choices. As with all of these colours, it looks gorgeous and thankfully it's not at all as dry as Ruby Woo so is much easier to apply. As they are far more pigmented than the others though, this and Ruby Woo do not fade particularly well and if you're planning to eat or drink (or if you're just the kind of person who licks their lips a lot) you will definitely need to re-apply these from time-time to avoid looking patchy.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY | Aimee & Jordan

Jordan and I finally reached our five year anniversary on April 14th 2016!

With me being in university, we sadly weren't able to celebrate on the day and instead chose to wait until I came home for the summer. So on May 10th 2016 we finally got to celebrate with a trip to Cardiff. 

It's not the most professional of videos, but we had a lot of fun making it and it'll make for a lovely memory to look back on!

Hope you enjoy!



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2SN1nA6ERo&feature=youtu.be

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Dear Jordan,

Today marks the fifth year of our being together.

I am so proud of us and all of the many, many wonderful memories we share. I am so proud of the people we have grown up to be and I am so happy and grateful that we have been able to grow together.

You are my best friend and you are always the first person I choose to experience the world with. You make me laugh every single day, everything I do, you are the one I want right beside me.

You are my rock and you always provide the most comforting shoulder to cry on. You are the first person I call when I need someone to talk to and somehow you always know exactly what I need and you are always able to make me feel better.

When it comes to being a boyfriend... There is no-one better. I feel so lucky that you chose me, out of all the girls in the world who would kill to have a someone who makes them feel so amazing and who treats them so well. I really am a lucky one!

You understand me, listen to me, spoil me and you make me feel like I can do anything!

Thank you for being there for me in every way possible. 
Thank you for putting up with every part of me and accepting me as I am.
Thank you for supporting me in everything that I do.

I only hope that I can do as much for you as you do for me.

I love you to the moon and back!

Happy anniversary to my favourite human!

All my love,
Aimee



Monday, 4 April 2016

Instagram Wrap-Up | March 2016

Here's my March Instagram wrap-up so you can see what it is I've been up to lately!

Wedding Party OOTD | Vanilla Latte Time! | The Best Bae There Ever Was

Off to Town | GBK | Strawberry & Bubblegum Sundae

GBK #bigburgerquiz | Sleeping Beauty OOTD | SU Burger

Sunglasses Selfie | Scenic Bike Track | Four Falls Walk

Four Falls Walk | Easter Sunday Roast | Wagamama Green Tea
 It's been a leisurely month, it's funny how my Instragram has become so much more scenic since I've been back in Wales! I'm glad I moved to Southampton for university, but God I do love home.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Instagram Wrap-Up | February 2016

I posted a LOT of Instagram pictures this month so I thought I'd share them all to commemorate and remember the month of February. Enjoy!

Flatmate's 19th Birthday | Braving The Hurricane | Poison Study - Maria V. Snyder
Rice & Prawns | Valentine's Day Wagamama | Reunited with Chummy!

YO! Sushi | The Notes Opening | The Notes - Free Champagne

Also This Happened | Marshmallow Dream @ Sprinkles | Uni Installed A Starbucks!

First Time Clubbing Together | Homemade Nachos | Intergalactic Bath Bomb

Bath Bomb Aftermath | Mac Nails - Wedding Party | Adorable Wedding Favours

Scenic Walk & Breakfast | Return to Southampton Healthy Dinner

Thursday, 18 February 2016

2016 Resolutions Check-Up

1. Blog at least once a week
I'm pretty sure I've stuck to this one! I'm not 100% regular with my blog posts now university is back in swing and until February 26th Jordan is here so I'll be a little more focused on spending time with him than blogging. BUT I'm happy with myself on this one, I'm pretty sure I've put up more posts than weeks have passed since January 1st and that's a win for me!

2. Read 52 books
So this wasn't a book-per-week as such, as I know I'll have busier weeks than others. It's a little difficult to know how this one is going to go until I get closer to the end of the year but I have read at least 5 books so far this year. We are about 6 or 7 weeks into the year so if I was going to measure this as a book-a-week I'm a little bit behind, but hopefully I'll be able to pick this up over the summer while I'm not in university!

                                                   3. Eat better
I'm not sure how well I've eaten for the last two months, but for the last week I've definitely been doing really well with this one. Since Jordan's been here we've been making an effort to make ourselves proper meals each night. So far we've made tuna pasta bake; stuffed peppers; a rice, cucumber, pepper and prawn concoction; and one Wagamamas (for Valentine's Day). So we've been eating pretty damn well and I hope to keep this up for the rest of his stay and hopefully once he's gone back home too.




4. Keep my surroundings tidy
This isn't something I find particularly easy, as I make a lot of mess when getting ready in the mornings but my surrounding have definitely been tidier in the new year. I've made more of an effort to conduct '10 minute tidy' sessions in the evening where I just spend 10 minutes putting things away, doing my dishes and generally straightening the place up.

5. Keep organised/plan more
I don't feel like this is one I've stuck to. I haven't been planning blog posts recently, more just writing when I have time/feel like it. I haven't been keeping a to do list every day, but at the same time I haven't felt like I've needed one. This may be an area I need to start paying more attention to.

6. Hydrate - Keep track of my water intake
So I definitely haven't been keeping track of my water intake but I do believe I have been drinking more water. I have off days where I don't drink very much but as a whole I believe this has improved since last year. So although I probably should be drinking a little bit more often, there is definitely improvement here which I am happy about!

7.  Go to bed/wake up earlier
Umm... Remember when I said I couldn't see this one happening? Well it's not gone entirely to plan. I do go to bed earlier more often, because I have three 9am starts a week now, which I will not make it too if I don't go to bed at a decent time. However, I still go to bed quite late when I have a late start the next day, and I have found myself not getting up until gone 11/12 o'clock sometimes which always makes me feel crap! But i again I feel like there's been slight improvement here and that's good enough for me!

8. Check up on my progress every month/few months
WOOHOO! This one's off to a good start! Looking back I think checking up every month would be a bit pointless. Maybe every 2 months will be better, we'll see.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

News Day: Tinder Pick-Up Lines

So the other day I wrote the copy for a story that we were assigned for News Day. If you don't know what News Day is, it's basically a thing we do on my university course every Wednesday where we get given news stories and we have to produce them ready to be published that day.

On this particular day we got given the big Valentines story and our main angle was terrible pick-up lines. So for the video we went out and asked random students what the worst pick-up line they'd ever had on Tinder was, and for the copy we decided to take it a step further.

We decided to see what sort of pick-up line's we could get from Tinder users.

It was a really fun story and I'm pretty proud of the work I put into the copy so I thought I'd share it here. Enjoy!

"At the loneliest time of the year singles all over the UK are downloading dating apps in an attempt to find their perfect Valentine.

Tinder is buzzing at this time of year with eager singles all looking for love, and where there’s dating apps, there’s terrible pick-up lines. So today we decided to download the Tinder app ourselves to see what all the fuss is about, so here’s the best and worst messages we received from the men of Southampton.
We received some that were punny!
“I don’t want to be too cheesy but we would be grate together x”
“If you were a vegetable you would be a cute-cumber”
“Are you a fish? Because you’re quite a catch?”
“If you were a fruit, you’d be a fineapple ;)”
“We’re not socks, but I think we’d make a great pair”
Some that were cheesy!
Them: “Do you take sugar with your tea?
Us: “Nope!”
Them: “That’s because you’re sweet enough” – We’re definitely curious as to what this one would have said if we did take sugar!
Some that fell a little flat!
“Is your name *insert crude sexual innuendo*”
“Did you read Dr Seuss as a kid? Because green eggs and DAMN!”
Some that got right to the point!
“Movie in or movie out?”
“I’m going to lay it on the line straight away… do you want to come over and ****?”
And then there were some that just made no sense at all!
“Are you Vincent? Because I could use your Kompany” – We asked multiple people about this one, but no one seemed to be able to figure it out!
What do you think of these pick up lines? Would they work on you?"

Monday, 8 February 2016

How Much is My Face Worth?

I can't remember where I first found this idea (it was probably Bloglovin) but I thought it was a really interesting premise.

So today, I will be looking at all the products I use on my face and adding up how much they cost to see how much my face is worth!

Skin Care
It's only recently that I've started using proper skin care products, I used to to just wash my face and be done with it. But recently I started noticing that my face was getting a little dry and so I went out and bought a serum and moisturiser which I now use every day. I'm not sure if skin care is supposed to count in this but I thought I'd include it anyways because I'm curious!

1. Clean & Clear® Advantage® Clear & Soothe Foaming Wash - £4.70 (Boots)
I absolutely love foaming face washes, and I use this twice a day, morning and evening to cleanse my face.

2. L'Oreal Skin Perfection Advanced Correcting Serum - £16.99 (Superdrug)
A little more on the pricy side, but I absolutely love this and it's not as if you need to use a lot of it. I use a pea sized amount twice a day after I've washed my face. I really do feel like this has helped my skin, I haven't had as many blemishes since using this and my skin just feels healthy overall. Whether this is purely due to the serum or if it's a mixture of that and moisturiser I don't know, but I do know I am going to continue using this for the foreseeable future!

3. Simple Kind to Skin Protect Light Moisturiser SPF 15 - £3.29 (Superdrug)
I use this moisturiser in the mornings, after the serum to hydrate my skin and protect against any damage from UV rays during the day. Since using this I have definitely seen an improvement in my skin, any patches of dry skin disappeared in about a week of using this.

4. Simple Kind to Skin Hydrating Light Moisturiser - £2.65 (Superdrug)
I currently use this moisturiser in the evenings, as I will not be going outside and my skin won't be affected by UV rays.

Skin Care Total: £27.63

Make-Up
All of these products have been a tried and tested part of my make-up routine for a long time now. This is basically all I ever wear in terms of make-up, the only thing that changes is the colour of lipstick. I'm not going to go into lengthy explanations of these like I did with skin care as I think we can all guess what each of these is used for.
Everyday Make-Up
Lipstick: Mac Frost Meltdown
1. Rimmel Hide The Blemish Concealer in Ivory 1 - £3.99 (Superdrug)

2. L'Oreal Paris Infallible Matte Foundation Porcelain 10 - £7.99 (Superdrug)

3. Bourjois Little Round Pot Blusher Rose Ambre 74 - £7.99 (Superdrug)

4. Rimmel Clear Complexion Powder Transparent 21 - £3.99 (Superdrug)

5. Rimmel Scandal'Eyes Mascara Extreme Black 3 - £6.99 (Superdrug)

6. Mac Lipstick Satin Mocha - £15.50 (Mac)

Make-Up Total: £46.45

Skin Care + Make-Up Total: £74.08

Okay, I'm actually pretty shocked by that. In a way it's not that much, most of the products I use are under £10 with the odd more expensive item thrown into the mix, but when it's all added up, that is actually quite a lot of money that I spend on my face.

The investment is worth it in my opinion though, after all I only have one face so I might as well look after it! Plus, doing my make-up is something I really enjoy and it's not as if I have to keep buying these products every month (if i did the more expensive items would definitely have to go, which would make me incredibly sad).

I don't really know how I would lose my make-up bag, but this had definitely made me realise that losing all of my make-up and skin care products is not an option! And these are only the ones I use every day, I'd hate to think of how much all my make-up added together would cost.

However, at the same time I don't feel like I need to cut down on the amount I spend on make-up as the products I have are ones I have accumulated over quite a long period of time.

I really enjoyed this post, definitely a bit of an eye-opener!

(All prices listed are the current price at the time of this blog post going live, some of the items were reduced and may have gone back up to full price.)

Saturday, 6 February 2016

January Favourites

January has been the month of a very intense photography assignment, lots of time spent with Jordan, lots of shopping, starting my second term of university and did I mention LAZER TEAM!? NO? Well I will!

Let's dive right into the favourites.

Make-Up and Beauty

Mac Retro Matte - Ruby Woo: As Mac's most popular red lipstick. I thought this would be a perfect choice for my first red Mac purchase. I have no complaints, everyone knows I love Mac lipsticks and this is no exception.

Mac Matte - So Chaud: I seem to have a complex which involved being unable to only buy one lipstick at a time, so at the same time as I picked up Ruby Woo, I also picked up this one! It's more of an orangey-red and looks so lovely on! I find it makes me look older in a way, so it's definitely a shade for more formal occasions.

Fashion

Accessorize Bag: I can't even remember how long I had my old Accessorize bag for, all I know is that I loved it but the strap started to look very worn and gross from the heavy use. So! I decided it was time to invest in a new one. I travelled to Accesorize Cardiff on multiple occasions looking for a replacement and luckily, I found the perfect one during the January sales! Down from £50 to £25.

Books

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon: I haven't quite finished this book yet, but I started it in January and I already love it, it's a very interesting book and the way it's written is a major part of it's appeal. I would recommend this to anyone over the age of 15 due to mild swearing.

Movies

Lazer Team: Anyone who knows me, knows I have been waiting for this movie ever since RT released the crowd-funding for it. I was so, so happy with this film. It was exactly what I expected and I was so happy that even though it was a great large-scale production piece, it still felt like Rooster Teeth.

TV

Chuck: I have no idea why I started re-watching Chuck this month, I think it's because Jordan and I only watch How I Met Your Mother together, so when I got back to uni I had nothing to watch. I highly recommend this series, it's absolutely hilarious and it's finished now so it's the perfect Netflix binge-watch.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

January Wrap-Up

THIS IS WHERE I GIVE AN OVERVIEW ALL THE BOOKS I READ IN JANUARY!

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses- Sarah J Maas
Finished at 1:30am 1st January 2016

To read my thoughts on this book go here: A Court of Thorns and Roses | Review

2. City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare
Finished at 1:45am 12th January 2016

I didn't write a review on this one, and that is because this is the second book in the series and I didn't write a review on the first book and I felt like because I didn't write a review on the first book, writing a review on the second book wouldn't really make much sense. Does that make sense?

I did enjoy this book though, much more than I enjoyed the first in the series. I found it a lot easier to read, it made more sense in my mind and I liked the plot a lot more, there was a lot more excitement here. I am very intrigued as to what the rest of the series has to offer because I have only heard good things so I'm expecting it to just get better from here.

3. Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly
Finished at 1:15am 22nd January 2016

To read my thoughts on this book go here: Keep Your Friends Close | Review

I didn't read as many books as I would have liked to this month, I totally failed at #RYBSAT and I realised I have a habit of finishing books at 1 o'clock in the morning.

BUT, I have started The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time and To All The Boys I've loved Before, so it's only a matter of time before I finish those... hopefully.

Monday, 1 February 2016

January | Overview

So we have reached the 1st of February 2016. I feel like January didn't even happen, it's gone by so unbelievably fast.

This month was a busy and varied one. I began the year relaxing with my loved ones and spending valuable quality time with them. Then things got extremely busy with two heavy photography deadlines which took up a lot of my time! But I got through it and had both assignments handed by January 13th.

video


I did a lot of shopping early in the month, and bought a lot of books, I think I finished a total of 3 books this month, and although I wanted to finish at least 4, I am still proud of myself as I have actually started another 2 and my reading has been pretty consistent (although I have been in a little bit of a rut since starting uni again).

I got to spend a lot of time with Jordan which I am extremely grateful for! We managed to watch a LOT of How I Met Your Mother, and we had quite a few days/nights out together.

One of those nights out included the LAZER TEAM PREMIER!! Which I have been waiting for for so freaking long! We both enjoyed it so, so much and I couldn't be happier that I got to experience it for the first time with him!

I also watched a LOT of TV this month and I don't know if I'm proud or disgusted by it... I started watching Chuck, Making a Murderer and The Vampire Diaries (none of which I have finished yet though so I guess that makes it okay!)

However, right now I am back at university and starting all of my new modules for this term; Writing Development, Video and Media Law. All of which have been very enjoyable so far (apart from the 9am starts).

And that has been my January, nothing spectacular really but enjoyable nonetheless.

Time really needs to slow down though because the months are going by way too quickly for my liking.

A lot of you reading this won't be familiar with Rooster Teeth or the great loss that the community suffered a year ago today but I just wanted to take a moment to honour the day that saw a huge community come together in mourning and support.

A year ago today Monty Oum sadly passed after an allergic reaction left him in a coma. 

Monty was such an inspiring person, he worked so hard and had such a successful future ahead of him. He inspired everyone to dream big and to not stop working your butt off until your dreams came true. 

Today's post is in memory of Monty, an amazing person who was taken from his loved ones way too young. 

"We all die, the goal isn't to live forever. The goal is to create something that will." - Monty Oum (1981-2015)

#KeepMovingForward

Friday, 29 January 2016

Would You Rather: Book Tag!

I first came across this tag over at http://originalbooker.blogspot.co.uk and I loved the idea of it so much that I decided to give it a try!

1. Read only series or standalones? 
I definitely have to go with series on this one. One book is never ever enough for me and with every standalone I've read and liked, I've ended up craving more. I seriously don't think I could handle reading only standalones forever, it would break my heart and the craving for sequels would just be too much. Also, all of my favourite books are series, theres something unexplainable that I love about series and seeing them lined up all pretty on my shelf is wonderful.

2. Read only female or male authors?
This one is difficult as I've read a mixture of amazing male and female authors but if I absolutely had to choose one it would have to be female authors. My decision here is purely based on the fact that all of my favourite series are written by female authors and I feel like female authors tend to write in the style that I enjoy most more often.

3. Shop at Barnes and Noble or Amazon? (I am making the executive decision here to change Barnes and Noble to Waterstones as we don't have Barnes and Noble in the UK)
I would choose Amazon almost 100% of the time over Waterstones. Maybe it's just me being cheap but I think Waterstone's is ridiculously over-priced and a book that would cost you £8 there, could cost as little as £3 with Amazon! Plus I pay for Amazon Prime with makes ordering books hella convenient.

4. All books become movies or TV Shows?
This one is difficult... The main thing I hate about books becoming movies is all the detail that gets cut out in order to make the movie a reasonable length, something that can be avoided with TV shows. However, TV shows often get picked up by companies like ABC Family (Freeform) and get turned into absolute cheese-fests (I'm looking at you Shadowhunters). But at the same times movies can end up just as bad (Looking at you AGAIN Shadowhunters!). At the end of the day I think I would choose movies, I like how a series can get split into a movie per book and you get that clear definition. Also there are a hell of a lot of amazing films that have been made into amazing movies (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Divergent, I could go on there's literally so many), but apart from the likes of PLL, Vampire Diaries and Game of Thrones, there aren't as many TV shows I can think of that truly do their books justice.

5. Read 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?
If I read 5 pages a day it would take me weeks just to finish one book, but I feel like 5 books a week is pretty excessive. I guess if I had the time though I'd prefer 5 books a week, there's a lot of books out there to read, and I'd fly through them like this!

6. Be a professional reviewer or author?
I really don't know with this one. It would be amazing to write my own books and have people read my stories but at this point in my life I don't know if I could do that. I don't have the faintest idea of how to write a full length novel and it seems like a pretty daunting task. So if we're talking today I'd prefer to be a reviewer, long term however, I wouldn't mind experimenting with novel writing.

7. Only read your top 20 favourite books over and over or always read new ones that you haven’t read before?
Always read new ones. I do love re-reading my favourite series and re-living my favourite characters but I feel like this would get very old, very quickly. Plus, like I said before, there are a lot of books out there and when I'm always reading something new I'm bound to find more and more favourites.

8. Be a librarian or book seller?
I don't feel like I've ever been to a fun library. the one that I used to go to growing up was pretty crappy. I feel like libraries are too filled with books that I really don't want to read like encyclopaedias and dictionaries and rubbish like that. Book shops however, are filled with all the newest releases and books on every subject which are more likely to be written in modern and fun ways than those held at a library. My final answer is book seller.

9. Only read your favourite genre or every genre except your favourite?
I don't really know what my favourite genre is... I feel like it must be fantasy thinking about it. I don't know, I think it would be really sad to never read any other genre of book but at the same time I feel like fantasy can be so broad that it would be worth it. So... I would have to go with only reading fantasy, because I really do love fantasy.

10. Only read physical books or ebooks?
Physical Books. I enjoy ebooks very much and they're obviously so convenient for on the go reading but overall I prefer physical books. I love the way they look on my shelf, I love that I can loan them to people and I just prefer the feel of them to a kindle or my phone.

This book tag was really fun! It definitely got me thinking a little bit about what type of reader I am!

I have decided to tag SophieCountsClouds.

And I am CHALLENGING James Griffin to do this tag as a blog post or a video. Here's your motivation James, now that I've tagged you, you have to do it!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

January Book Haul

Here's an overview of all the books I have acquired so far in January!

The Lady of the Rivers, Phillipa Gregory, HardbackThe Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory - £1 - Hardback
"Jacquetta, daughter of the Count of Luxembourg and kinswoman to half the royalty of Europe, was married to the great Englishman John, Duke of Bedford, uncle to Henry VI. Widowed at the age of 19, she took the extraordinary risk of marrying a gentleman of her household for love, and then carved out a new life for herself." - Goodreads

Jane Austen, Paperback, January, Book HaulEmma by Jane Austen - £1 - Paperback
"Emma is young, rich and independent. She has decided not to get married and instead spends her time organising her acquaintances' love affairs. Her plans for the matrimonial success of her new friend Harriet, however, lead her into complications that ultimately test her own detachment from the world of romance." - Goodreads

Emily St. John Mandel, Paperback, January, Book HaulStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - £3.85 - Amazon - Paperback
"An audacious, darkly glittering novel set in the eerie days of civilization's collapse, Station Eleven tells the spellbinding story of a Hollywood star, his would-be savior, and a nomadic group of actors roaming the scattered outposts of the Great Lakes region, risking everything for art and humanity. 

One snowy night Arthur Leander, a famous actor, has a heart attack onstage during a production of King Lear. Jeevan Chaudhary, a paparazzo-turned-EMT, is in the audience and leaps to his aid. A child actress named Kirsten Raymonde watches in horror as Jeevan performs CPR, pumping Arthur's chest as the curtain drops, but Arthur is dead. That same night, as Jeevan walks home from the theater, a terrible flu begins to spread. Hospitals are flooded and Jeevan and his brother barricade themselves inside an apartment, watching out the window as cars clog the highways, gunshots ring out, and life disintegrates around them. 

Fifteen years later, Kirsten is an actress with the Traveling Symphony. Together, this small troupe moves between the settlements of an altered world, performing Shakespeare and music for scattered communities of survivors. Written on their caravan, and tattooed on Kirsten's arm is a line from Star Trek: "Because survival is insufficient." But when they arrive in St. Deborah by the Water, they encounter a violent prophet who digs graves for anyone who dares to leave. 

Spanning decades, moving back and forth in time, and vividly depicting life before and after the pandemic, this suspenseful, elegiac novel is rife with beauty. As Arthur falls in and out of love, as Jeevan watches the newscasters say their final good-byes, and as Kirsten finds herself caught in the crosshairs of the prophet, we see the strange twists of fate that connect them all. A novel of art, memory, and ambition, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it. " - Goodreads
Jenny Han, Paperback, January, Book Haul

To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han - £3.85 - Amazon - Paperback
"To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all. " - Goodreads

Andy Weir, Paperback, January, Book HaulThe Martian by Andy Weir - £4 - Amazon - Paperback
"Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?" - Goodreads

Scott Westerfeld, Paperback, January, Book HaulUglies by Scott Westerfeld - £3.85 - Amazon - Paperback
"Tally can't wait to turn sixteen and become pretty. Sixteen is the magic number that brings a transformation from repellent Ugly into a stunningly attractive Pretty, and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks, Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend, Shay, isn't sure she wants to be Pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the Pretty world - and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn Pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever." - Goodreads

Claire North, Paperback, January, Book Haul

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North - £3.85 - Amazon - Paperback
"No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.

Until now.

As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. ‘I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’ she says. ‘I need to send a message.’

This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow." - Goodreads
George R.R. Martin, Paperback, January, Book Haul

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin - £3.85 - Amazon - Paperback
"As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must ...and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty. 

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark's family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne." - Goodreads
Jojo Moyes, Paperback, January, Book Haul

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - £3.49 - Amazon - Paperback
"Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time." - Goodreads
Erika Johansen, Paperback, January, Book Haul

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen - £4 - Amazon - Paperback
"Kelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret by foster parents after her mother – Queen Elyssa, as vain as she was stupid – was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea’s uncle in the role of Regent however he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress-tyrant of neighbouring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea’s 19th birthday, the tattered remnants of her mother’s guard - each pledged to defend the queen to the death - arrive to bring this most un-regal young woman out of hiding...

And so begins her journey back to her kingdom’s heart, to claim the throne, earn the loyalty of her people, overturn her mother’s legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea's story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance - it's about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly and fairly while simply trying to stay alive..." - Goodreads

Friday, 22 January 2016

Review: Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly

"From breakout thriller writer Paula Daly, the story of a husband and wife and the devious best friend who comes between them.

Natty and Sean have a rock-solid marriage—with two daughters, a successful business, and a beautiful house, they are a model family. When their younger daughter falls ill on a school trip, Natty rushes to her side. Luckily, Natty’s best friend from college, Eve, is visiting and offers to stay with Sean to lend a hand in the household. But Natty returns home to find that Eve has taken to family life a little too well: Sean has fallen in love with her. With no choice but to put on a brave face, Natty attempts to start anew—yet no matter how hard she tries to set herself upright, Eve is there to knock her down again. Then Natty receives a mysterious note that says Eve has done this before—more than once—and the consequences were fatal. On a mission to reveal Eve as a vindictive serial mistress, Natty must navigate through a treacherous maze of secrets and lies that threatens her life and the safety of her loved ones." - Goodreads

*****
I will start by saying this is not the type of book I usually read, the novel centres around Natty, mother of two, always busy, always worrying, striving for the perfect life. However, this perfect life starts to unravel when her daughter Felicity is taken ill and a friend whom she thought she could trust ends up snaring her husband. As various secrets get revealed the novel takes quite a sinister turn and themes of deception and murder begin to come into play.

I personally enjoy books where the action happens in the first few pages, I like to be gripped by a novel from the get go with information about the surroundings and backstory given to me as I get further into the story. This novel does give you a lot of backstory throughout, however nothing particularly exciting happens until page 30 when we're first introduced to Eve.

But from here on out I just enjoyed this novel more and more with every page. Looking back it has a very similar feel to The Girl on the Train but with much, much better characters and writing that was miles more interesting (can you tell I wasn't impressed with The Girl on the Train?).

I felt that the plot moved at a good pace never feeling boring or padded out but also never feeling rushed. There were lots of plot twists and unexpected moments which were all tied nicely together at the end in a conclusion that didn't leave me with any glaring questions about Eve. However, I'm sure Daly achieved exactly what she wanted to with the end of this novel but, as much as I enjoyed the book and thoroughly recommend it, I wasn't 100% satisfied with the ending.

Even though Eve's plot-line is thoroughly concluded, no-one else's is. You have no idea how Natty and her family fair afterwards, whether she reconciles with Sean, how Alice and Felicity deal with the transpired events, if Sean ever realises the true extent of Eve's plans. I know some authors like to leave this sort of stuff up to the imagination, so readers can make their own ending but I personally like to be told these things. The rest of the characters are pretty messed up at the end of this book, I really would have liked to have seen even the smallest glimpse of 'life after Eve' shall we say.

Despite this I liked all of the characters in this book, I didn't think there were any weak links. I felt the main character Natty was likeable, relatable and her actions were thoroughly explained and made understandable. She fiercely fought for the people she loved and had a real purpose throughout the novel to protect her family which is something that really draws you into her.

Sean is written as the weak, easily led-astray husband who falls straight into another woman's trap. You're not supposed to like Sean, and why would you? It takes him less than 10 days to fall into the bed of his wife's best friend, who he's too oblivious to realise is just using him. Sean annoyed me very much, but not because he was badly written, more because he was very well written.

With Eve I like how we don't get a lot of information about her, from her. It gives her an air of mystery and I like that we find things out about Eve at the same time Natty does. That way we are sort of put into Natty's shoes and when she goes and confronts Sean and he doesn't believe her, it makes you want to shake him and say "Why are you so stupid?!" Which, incidentally is probably exactly how Natty feels.

For the girls (Alice and Felicity), I don't particularly like it when teenagers say "Mummy" in books, as to me this just isn't realistic. However, I was willing to overlook this as again the two characters were very real and well written.

This has turned into a very lengthy review so congratulations if you're still reading! Overall, I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it to fans of The Girl on the Train and anything similar, but also if you're not a fan give it a try anyway, you might be pleasantly surprised.

Paperback | 400 pages

Goodreads rating: 3.76                Published: 21/05/2014 | Corgi (first published 13/03/2014)
My rating: 4/5

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

#RYBSAT Readathon

If you aren't already aware of what RYBSAT (Read Your Bookshelf-athon) is, it is a week long reading marathon where you pick a spot on your shelf and basically read along the shelf, one book after another. It starts today (Tuesday,  January 19th) and ends on Monday, January 25th.

I'm quite lucky that most of the books on my shelf at the moment I haven't read so I have quite a lot of choice as to where to start.

I've debated and changed my mind about where I wanted to start so many times already it's ridiculous. I debated starting on the right side of my book shelf where all of my The Mortal Instruments series books are as I really want to finish those, I debated starting in the centre and reading some of my newer books, I also debated starting just after the Throne of Glass series and basically marathoning Harry Potter. However, after much deliberation I have decided to start on the left side of my book shelf starting with Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly. I decided to start here as I've had these books the longest and I think it is time for them to finally be read.

I have no idea how many books I'll read this week (especially since it is already 16 hours into the readathon and I haven't read a word), but ideally I would love to get through Keep Your Friends Close by Paula Daly, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon and Poison Study by Maria V Snyder. I would also like to start Paper Towns by John Green but we'll see if that happens.



It'll be really nice if I can polish off these books this week as they have been sat on my shelf for a while. However, I'm not going to force myself to read when I don't want to because that will just make me resent the book I'm reading rather than love it.

Wish me luck! I'll let you know how I got on in a post next week!

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

2015 Favourites

So I was on YouTube yesterday and I saw YouTubers posting their 2015 favourites videos... On the 11th of January! My initial reaction was, late much? But then I thought about it and realised that this gave me a perfect excuse to do my own half way through January 2016, 2015 favourites! Thus, here we are. I have been extremely busy this past week which is why I haven't been posting every two days like I was at the beginning of the month, but this post means I have so far stuck to my resolution of a post a week and that is what matters!

2015 was a pretty eventful year for me. I finally finished my A levels, I moved to England and I started the 'university' chapter of my life. Aside from all of that though, here is a list of things that I loved in the year 2015.

Make-Up and Beauty
Mac Cosmetics: This year I purchased my very first Mac lipsticks and I have completely fallen in love. I love the texture, the pigment, the colour, I love how long they last. I pretty much love everything about Mac lipsticks and I'm pretty obsessed. My main obsession of the year has been the Satin Mocha lipstick. It's described on the Mac website as a 'peachy yellow-brown', I think that sounds gross... but the colour itself is gorgeous and it has definitely become my go-to.

Food and Drink
Coffee: So I've liked Mochas for a long time, but I was constantly convinced that I didn't like coffee. However, this year I worked in a coffee shop for a while and instead of leaving hating it, I left with a brand new obsession! Cappuccinos are as far as I'll go though, black coffee is still off limits.

Books
Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas: I think we all knew this was coming. I've been obsessed with his series since the moment I picked it up, and it was definitely these books that stuck with me most this year.

Blogging
My Blog: I am incredibly happy that I've fallen in love with my blog in 2015, it's something that I really enjoy doing for myself and something I will be very happy to continue with in 2016.

World of Wanderlust: This is a travel blog that I discovered this year and loved! The girl that runs it, Brooke, travel's all around the world and blogs about it and all of her tips for travelling the globe.

So that's everything I wanted to talk about in this post, it's a little bit of a filler post because I'm still pretty busy but soon I should be back on track with enough time to post again.

Monday, 4 January 2016

December Favourites

I literally haven't done a favourites post since July, but to be fair I didn't post much between July and December at all! I am trying my best to be on track with blogging though and my New Years resolution is to post at least once a week but at the moment I am trying to post every two days. The once a week resolution just keeps the pressure off if I miss a day.

It is the beginning of a New Year but before I completely let go of 2015 I have a few reflective posts such as favourites and recaps planned so let's dive right in to my December favourites.

Make-Up and Beauty

L'Oréal Paris Infallible 24H-Matte Mattifying Foundation: I had this foundation in my make-up bag for a while but I was so attached to my Rimmel foundation that it sat in the bottom of my bag lonely and unused. However, during the month of December I ran out of my Rimmel foundation and I was too lazy (and too cheap) to go out and buy a new one. Thus the age of the L'Oréal foundation began! This foundation is wonderful, it goes onto my skin so smoothly and gives amazing coverage without looking cakey. It lasts all day, it makes my skin look flawless, it doesn't make me feel oily or look shiny. It's just overall an amazing foundation and I am currently obsessed.

Fashion

Scarf: I can't remember where or when I got this scarf but it is always a must-have for me during the winter months. It is the cosiest scarf I have ever come across and the lovely neutral light brown/creamy colour goes with absolutely anything. Especially in my wardrobe as 90% of my winter attire is black, white and grey. It also goes beautiful with my favourite beige winter boots.

Winter Socks: There is nothing better than a cosy pair of winter socks. Whether it's the obnoxiously fluffy kind that you wear around the house, or the really cute fashion kind that you wear with winter boots. I have have been loving wintery socks in December and a part of me will be sad when spring rolls along and it's too warm to wear them.

Rings: I am not a big Jewellery wearer, but this month I have once again started wearing both the ring that Jordan bought for me and a ring that I received from a family member this Christmas. They are both so pretty and shiny and I don't entirely understand why but I've been loving wearing them.

Food and Drink

Anything Home Cooked: Literally, after being in university for 3 months and living off pasta, pot noodles and onion rings I am so incredibly happy to be home with proper meals cooked by my mum (and the many meals we've gone out for). I usually have no motivation to cook for myself in the evenings so it's very, very nice to have them cooked for me for a few weeks.

YouTube

December is the month of Vlogmas so I've been watching a LOT of YouTube this month. Some of my favourites have been: Zoella, MoreZoella, Abookutopia, Katie Snooks, SacconeJolys and PeruseProject.

Books

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas: I have talked about this series (Throne of Glass) a lot on my blog recently but that is simply because it is one of my favourite series right now and this instalment was no exception. There's been a lot of conflicting views on this book but I for one loved it. I'm not happy that I have to wait so long for the next one but at least I have the second instalment of A Court of Thorns and Roses in a few months to make the wait a little more bearable.

Movies 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: This is such a classic Christmas film and I don't know if this is an unpopular opinion but I think I actually like this film more than Elf. It's adorable, has songs and is just indescribably wonderful. Watching this film in December reminded me how much I love it, definitely one of my favourite Christmas films I watched this month. The post that goes with this film can be found here.

Serendipity: I did not expect to love this film as much as I did. I thought it would be too cheesy and annoying but I was wrong. It was just the right amount of cheesy and annoying and I loved it. I loved it so much that I gave it 5/5 Santa Faces. the post that went with this film can be found here.

Songs
Santa Tell Me by Ariana Grande: Celebrities' original Christmas songs can often be awful, cheesy and difficult to listen to, but I found myself playing this song on repeat throughout the month of December. It's just so catchy!

Walking In A Winter Wonderland/Be Happy by Pentatonix ft. Tori Kelly: I love Pentatonix any day, but this Christmassy mash up is amazing! Tori Kelly's voice is absolutely beautiful and the harmonies are on point. A must for my Christmas playlist.

Place

Barry: Towards the end of the month my parents, Jordan and I spent a few hours in Barry with my dog, Bella. We walked along the beach and through the town and my mum took a few nice pictures. Bella loved it, even though she ran away from the waves of the sea like a child. Overall it was a lovely day and definitely my favourite of the places I went this month.

TV
How I Met Your Mother: A while back Jordan and I decided we wanted to watch How I Met Your Mother from start to finish. It is such a brilliant show that we finished 3 seasons in about 2 weeks. Don't even judge me, it's winter break! The show is so incredibly funny and all the actors are amazing, I highly recommend this series if you haven't seen it yet.