Dollar Store Book Haul

7/08/2018


I love both books and dollar stores, so this blog post doesn't exactly seem out of my realm despite it being my first ever dollar store haul. If you didn't know already, almost ever dollar store has a small book sale section, each novel being.. you guessed it.. a dollar! Much like thrifting it can be a little treasure hunt to find anything halfway decent or something that isn't the twelfth book in some series you've likely never heard of (anyone else remember a time when the Twilight books were so popular that almost every YA section of a bookstore or supermarket seemed to be House of Night books or some iffy Supernatural themed love story? Good times.). But at the end of the day, a book for a dollar is a fantastic deal and it is totally worth sifting through the messy piles to find something. 

Here are my recent discoveries. 



Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
by Matthew Quick

This is one that was already on my radar prior to buying. This is about a 17-year-old boy who plans to shoot his best friend and then commit suicide, on his birthday. Not the lightest of topics, but something that falls into my niche of genre, I suppose you could say. 

I enjoy books that look into any form of mental health and given the many positive reviews I've read discussing Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, I don't doubt that this story was written with the care that it needed to be. It's a scary world nowadays and though you may not want to bring that fearfulness into your bedtime reading, I think you can gain a lot from reading about difficult topics in written form and not just from a news source.
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Not If I See You First
by Eric Lindstrom

Let's be real here, I mostly picked this book up because the fun colours on the cover caught my eye, which is ironic given that this is about a blind girl. Parker Grant doesn't want to be treated any differently just because she lives with her eyes closed, and her list of rules on how to act around her will make sure of that. But her father's passing and her ex-boyfriend reappearing, her life and rules take a little stumble. But is it in the right direction? 

The thing that interested me most about this YA contemporary is the way that the burb makes it seem as though this book isn't actually focusing on Parker's blindness, but rather her life that she built around the disability. Though books bringing awareness to things that we might not know a lot about are important (see: above), I do think it is also necessary to normalise things that some people live with. 
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You Deserve A Drink: Boozy Misadventures and Tales of Debauchery
by Mamrie Hart

Who doesn't love Mamrie Hart? If you watch Youtube then you'll already know of this drinking, smart-mouthed, redheaded lady, and you're likely to already adore her. But just at the off chance that you've been living under a rock, this book is written by a comedian who started her career on Youtube. In this semi autobiographical book, she tells us tales of her youth with a fair few recipes along the way to insure that you have a grand old time. This is probably one you'll already know whether you're interested in, but alas, I strongly recommend it either way.
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Local Girls
by Caroline Zancan

I'm torn as to whether this one interests me, it seems like a cross between Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars, and some other girl centred show that makes you question whether the characters are written well or if it's a horrible representation of young women.

Revolved around nineteen-year-old girls - Maggie, Lindsey, and Nina, three best friends who have been brought up together and see one another more like sisters. When a chance encounter at their favourite bar puts them into contact with the movie star, Sam Decker, and their old friend Lila, things get weird and changes everything. That is basically all I'm getting from the synopsis. I can't  tell whether this is contemporary, drama, or a thriller/mystery (think We Were Liars by E. Lockhart). Have you heard anything about this one? Let me know!
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Two Across
by Jeff Bartsch 

During a national spelling bee, award teenager Stanely Owens meets his match in brainy Vera Baxter when they tie for first place, and the rest is history... Okay, it isn't. I just felt like that's how it was going. In actual fact, trying to get away from their mothers expectations, the two youngsters decide to get married for the cash gifts (logical), hoping it will enable them to start their lives the way they want. But in enlisting Vera to marry him, Stanely neglects one variable: she's secretly in love with him.

Though this rom-com sounding book seems interesting, I am a little dubious as to whether it's a good plot idea or not. What if their families just gave them toasters? The plan is flawed! Alas, I'm expecting a semi fun read with some hopeful ending about love. Watch this space.
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Radiance of Tomorrow
by Ishmael Beah

One of the more popular books in this haul, Radiance of Tomorrow is the debut novel of Ishmael Beath. The American dream was born of Europeans immigrating to a new home, one free from oppression and ripe with opportunity. The characters in this touching tale also dream of a home—though for them the dream means reclaiming Imperi, Sierra Leone, the tiny village that sustained them for generations, now in the grip of inexorable change. And therein lies the conflict that will make you care about what happens them.

I'll admit that my husband actually picked this book up, but the story does interest me. I think it'd be one that stays with you long after you turn the final page.
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So there we have it, these are my recent dollar store finds: book edition. Do any of the books appeal to you? Have you read any of them? Let me know down below! 


Self Love: Finding The Perfect Underwear With La Senza

7/01/2018

*Side-note: This post is in no way sponsored. I wish it was! I merely adore this brand and wanted to share my recent discovery on here. Who doesn't love new underwear?


Much like bras, it can be really difficult to find the perfect underwear. With a multitude of styles on the market and so many brands offering their own take on what's both sexy and comfortable, it's a world that can often lead you astray and leave you quite overwhelmed. 

When shopping for underwear my main requirements are:

Fit: I want something that flatters but doesn't feel like I'm in some bondage getup.

Price: No one wants to spend almost £50 on 10 pairs of what can essentially be a piece of string.

Material: Softness and breath-ability is key.

How I Feel: Much like a good bra, a pair of panties can completely change how you feel in certain styles of clothing. Confidence starts with you.

Style: As comfortable as the four pack of basic cotton underwear is, sometimes you just want something a little extra for yourself. We all love something pretty, so why do we keep our favourite sets for special occasions? It's time to feel special every morning.


In a recent act of self love, I decided to invest more into my underwear collection. It wasn't that I fell out of love with my usual 3 for £7 from F&F (aka: Tesco), but I wanted to put something on everyday that made me feel good and I think a new set of underwear can do that. Hell, just wearing something that matches can do that. But whenever I searched online for some suggestions, I usually ended up on some overpriced website that felt forced or too limited in choice. Then La Senza came along. 

There used to be a La Senza store in my hometown, so I was already familiar with the brand and that prompted me to seek out whether they had an online store. Low and behold, they did! I went instantly to their sale section and bought a few pairs of bloomers (do people still call panties bloomers? Google says yes.) that I thought would work for my needs, and gave them a shot. I was instantly in love. Within a few weeks, I had put in a bigger order and now a good portion of my underwear drawer is filled with pairs of briefs that I feel good in and look forward to wearing each day.


I never thought I'd find a brand that I'd wholeheartedly love, let alone a brand that could offer me a selection of styles in multiple colours that also allows me to order online without any sizing issues. My favourite style is the Ultra Soft Boyshort Panty as most have a gathered fabric detail on the bottom which is super flattering and the material is heavenly - win, win. If you like to wear something a little more risque then La Senza still has your back with a large variety of more "fancy" underwear sets in the After Hours section. I have yet to try their bras, but will most definitely consider it in future. 

The site usually has some sort of deal going and free delivery, so be sure to give it a snoop. Treat yo self.

The point of this post is to obviously share this brand with you, but to also suggest that you do something that classifies as self love this week. You don't need to wait for someone to buy you something lacy, and you most definitely don't have to wait to buy such things because you're the only one that will see it. Confidence is hard enough for most of us, so why not help yourself a little along the way? Feel sexy for yourself.

Do you have a favourite underwear brand? Let me know down below!

Creating a Zen Space For Your Home | Guest Post by Anu Jarvinen

6/30/2018


Creating a quiet space for yourself in your home can be beneficial to your overall well being. Taking a few moments  to yourself every once in a while and doing something that makes you feel happy is important. Quite often we are running from place to the next and from day to the next without taking a break. Sometimes it’s good to take a pause, connect with yourself and be quiet. Creating a sacred spot in your home helps you to get into that space of calmness easier.  Especially after a long and busy day at work we sometimes struggle to switch off. Here’s some simple ideas on how you can create a Zen space for your home. Zen reflects peace, stillness, meditation, connecting to yourself in silence and enjoying the present moment.

Creating Zen space

Find a corner or other space in your home that is not utilised and decide that this will be your quiet space. Make sure you clean the area properly, especially the corners and any floor trims. Hoover and wipe the floor and make sure there are no spider webs higher up. Set the intention that you are creating a sacred space for yourself. Take your time to do this.

Do a space clearing ceremony. You can do this weekly or however often you feel is right for you. Use sounds like bells or drums to bring a lovely new energy to the space. If you do not have any bells, you can use music or clapping your hands. Try burning an incense or candle or use some essential oils in a burner or diffuser to bring a lovely scent to the space. Great essential oils to use are sage, tree and resin oils like frankincense and myrrh or fir and pine needles, eucalyptus or palo santo. They can be a part of your ritual whenever you enter the space.

Make sure the space is clutter free. Depending on how much space there is, you could add a chair, small table or perhaps cushions for you to sit on. invest into a lovely lamp for reading and place some crystals in the corners and  on the table. Great protective stones are obsidian, onyx, amethyst and clear rock crystal. Place a candle on the table to create a warm atmosphere and if there is space place a plant somewhere near by.  You can also hang wind chimes in the area if you enjoy their sounds and it feels appropriate.


How you can enjoy this space?

There are many ways you can utilise the space. You can also agree with your family that whenever you are in this space you are to be left alone. Having a few moments to yourself will make a huge difference to your mood and general wellbeing. What is that you enjoy doing? Do you like reading, but find that there is never time to do that? Pick up a new book and take a moment to read a chapter or two. Do you enjoy crafting, but feel like you get disturbed and don’t get time to focus? Use this space to do some crafting and get inspired by new ideas. Perhaps you enjoy knitting? Try a new pattern, learn a new design or knit something for yourself.

You can also use the space for meditation, listening to some beautiful music or even enjoying a cup of your favourite tea. If your life is busy, taking just a half an hour break to enjoy a lovely cup of tea can be important. Try to avoid listening to radio or watching tv, use the space for stillness and quietness. Our lives are so stimulated constantly that are brains are often overloaded. Use these moments to quieten the mind.

For creating the space use: Bells or drums, wind chimes, candles, incense, aromatherapy and crystals, plants and light

Use the space for: Reading, writing , meditation, enjoying tea, crafting, knitting or listening to music



About the Writer:
Anu is a Finnish born, London based aroma- beauty- and massage therapist specialising in facial treatments, natural skincare and aromatherapy. She writes about natural skincare, healthy living and lifestyle on her blog.

Find her on:
https://anuukaromaticskincare.co.uk
https://twitter.com/AnuukAromatic
https://www.instagram.com/anuukaromaticskincare/


Get her eBook Small Guide to Aromatherapy HERE.

6 Books I Want To Read This Summer | Seasonal TBR

6/21/2018


It's the first day of Summer, yay, we're officially on the road to Christmas! I've never put together a seasonal TBR before as I rarely make TBR's in general, instead I tend to pick up anything I see at the library and inadvertently abandon the many, many, many not-yet-read books on my shelves at home. But we all do that, right? This Summer, as I'm on a roll with my goal of reading 100 books in 2018 (check out my progress on Goodreads HERE and feel free to add me, it's way more fun supporting each other on our reading achievements.), I wanted a semi game plan to "make" myself pick up the books that I've been wanting to read but haven't yet got to. 

As always, if you've read any of these, please let me know your thoughts!
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Red Queen (Red Queen Series #1)
by Victoria Aveyard
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with red and those with silver. Mare and her family are lowly Reds, destined to serve the Silver Elite whose supernatural abilities make them nearly gods. Mare steals what she can to help her family survive, but when her best friend is conscripted into the army, she gambles everything to win his freedom. 

I've heard so many great things about the Red Queen series, and though I've had this on my shelf for ages, the tiny font inside made me reluctant to pick it up. A stupid reason? Maybe, but I have a liking to reading under the glow of fairy-lights and they aren't very...  bright. Alas, whether I'm gonna have to read this via Google Play or, heaven forbid, read in daylight, this is at the top of my TBR list.
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The Nightingale 
by Kristin Hannah
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.
Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

Even if you have no intention of ever picking this one up, you've likely heard the name or recognise the cover. Released in 2016, this war time novel has quickly become what many would argue to be a modern classic. After reading Jojo Moyes's The Girl You Left Behind and really liking it, both The Nightingale and All The Light We Cannot See have been on my radar (and shelf). This one just happens to be at the top. (Plus I saw someone reading it in public so it works for the prompt in the POPSUGAR 2018 Reading Challenge. Speaking of, are you taking part? How's it going for you? Let me know!)
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Leah On The Offbeat 
by Becky Albertalli
Leah Burke is a drummer, usually on the beat drumming in the band Emoji. However, Leah has kept something from all of her friends, even from her openly gay best friend, Simon: she is bisexual. The only person to know about her sexuality is her mother, whom Leah is very close to. When her friend group starts to rock, Leah doesn't know what to do, with prom and graduation coming up. In between her friends fighting and graduation, Leah then realizes she might like one of her friends more than she first thought.

Earlier this year I read and thoroughly enjoyed Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda (still a better title than Love, Simon, just FYI. It's not even a sequel to Love, Rosie! Confusing.), and though I haven't watched the movie adaption of it, I've heard nothing but good things. So when word finally got to me that Becky Albertalli was writing a direct sequel from Leah's POV, it excited me. I feel like we rarely get sequels in the YA contemporary world, so it'll undoubtedly be a great time to jump back into the Simon-verse and see where the characters lives lead.
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13 Ways Of Looking at a Fat Girl
by Mona Awad
Growing up in the suburban hell of Misery Saga (a.k.a. Mississauga), Lizzie has never liked the way she looks—even though her best friend Mel says she’s the pretty one. She starts dating guys online, but she’s afraid to send pictures, even when her skinny friend China does her makeup: she knows no one would want her if they could really see her. So she starts to lose. With punishing drive, she counts almonds consumed, miles logged, pounds dropped. She fights her way into coveted dresses. She grows up and gets thin, navigating double-edged validation from her mother, her friends, her husband, her reflection in the mirror. But no matter how much she loses, will she ever see herself as anything other than a fat girl? 

Books about ED's have always struck a cord with me. I'd never heard of this novel despite it's *notable achievements in the book publishing world. I find it interesting that in the synopsis it seems like we read about the disease affecting Lizzie both in highschool and as an adult, which is something I haven't really seen in a novel of this sort before. It sounds interesting and just up my street.
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Rosemary's Baby
by Ira Levin
Rosemary Woodhouse and her struggling actor husband Guy move into the Bramford, an old New York City apartment building with an ominous reputation and mostly elderly residents. Neighbors Roman and Minnie Castavet soon come nosing around to welcome the Woodhouses to the building, and despite Rosemary's reservations about their eccentricity and the weird noises that she keeps hearing, her husband takes a shine to them.
Shortly after Guy lands a plum Broadway role, Rosemary becomes pregnant—and the Castavets start taking a special interest in her welfare. As the sickened Rosemary becomes increasingly isolated, she begins to suspect that the Castavets' circle is not what it seems...

Who doesn't want a little horror with their Summer vacation? Never having watched the movie, I'm rather enthusiastic to be able to venture into this story for the first time by book. To be entirely honest, despite my horror loving ways with movies, I really haven't picked up any horror books. Psycho is the closest I've come to reading a horror classic, but I mean, does that even count? I found the book more sad than scary, as we got a glimpse into the devastating mind of Norman Bates, something that is impossible to portray through the movies. Either way, I'm looking forward to this read.
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A Little Life
by Hanya Yanagihara 
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. 
Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome—but that will define his life forever.

I'm a quick reader but when a book has over 800 pages, even I squirm with fear and hide behind my standard 400 page books. It's illogical, isn't it? That I will willingly read two meh 'regular' sized books instead of a 800 page one that I've been looking forward to for a long while.  Brain meet logic. From what I've heard A Little Life is a brutally honest story that involves drug use, abuse, love, art, and so many other topics that others have mentioned in the many ravings reviews I've read. This is one I imagine diving head first into you and only coming back to my own reality a week or so later. I can't wait.
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What's on the top of your TBR for the Summer? Do let me know below!


*13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award and was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. It was named one of the most anticipated books of 2016 by Elle, Bustle, and The Globe and Mail, and it was named one of the best books of the month by the Huffington Post, Bustle, and Book Riot. The National Post chose it as one of their best books of 2016, and it was longlisted for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.

What I Eat In A Day #1

6/10/2018

I think we've all fallen down a "What I Eat In A Day" Youtube rabbit hole at least once within the last year, and as a personal huge fan of seeing what other people choose to put into their bodies, I was all "Hey! Maybe I should do one of those." so skip ahead a few months and here I am, bringing you a somewhat realistic What I Eat In A Day post. Whoop. Before we get started I want to add a quick note to mention that I apologise in advance for the photos that are lacking (see: dinner), I still rely heavily on my phone's camera and that doesn't mesh well with low lightening, so.. yeah. Sorry! Also all the ingredients mentioned are portioned to one serving, so you may want to double, triple or quadruple the written amount if you're feeding more than yourself. Enjoy!


Breakfast: Instagram

Okay, I'm not literally eating Instagram but I think egg and avocado bagels are now an Instagram staple. I think every blogger has uploaded a variation of this meal. I'm usually not a lover of eggs, but alas, some days you just have a craving and this was one of those days. To go alongside breakfast me and my husband shared some premixed protein iced coffee that we got on offer. I can't remember the exact brand, but it was surprisingly good.

What you need: Everything Bagels
1 Egg
1/2 Avocado
Salt + Pepper
Optional:  Dried Chopped Onions
Tabasco

How to: Start cooking your scrambled eggs as your bagel toasts. 
(Many people I know cook their eggs in the microwave but I much prefer scrambling them in a pan with a bit of oil or butter to get a little crispyness going. But if you aren't bothered and appreciate the fluffiness that the microwave method gives, scramble your egg with a little bit of milk in a bowl and cook in the microwave for roughly 4 minutes, stirring along the way.)
Mash up your avocado in the skin and then plonk (yes, that is a scientific term) it on one side of your now golden bagel, proceed to do the same with your eggs on the other half. 
Top the green side with pepper, salt, and dried onion. Trust me, it makes a huge difference. If you're feeling crazy, put some Tabasco on your eggs and get ready for a flavor explosion.
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Lunch: Hummus Pasta

This is one of my go-to speedy lunches if I'm busy but wanting something fulfilling. Though you can use your standard pasta, I favour using tri-color rotini or lentil pasta, there's no particular reason behind this other than my personal preference. The thing I love about this is how versatile it is. You can easily switch things up by changing the veggies, or hummus flavour. If you aren't  veggie, you could mix in some chicken or whatnot.  If you want a heartier variation, you could add mushrooms and broccoli. 

What you need: Pasta (Barilla Tri-Color Rotini was my choice today)
Hummus
Plum Tomatoes
Spinach

How To: Cook up your pasta to your own liking. Drain. Transfer to bowl and mix in a hearty scoop of hummus, cut your tomatoes in half, add them and a good handful of spinach to your bowl. Enjoy!
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Dinner: Courgette, Mushroom and Caramelised Onion on Ciabatta with Marinara Sauce

And this humans, may be the most unattractive photo of food I have ever taken or seen, those nighttime lights just don't work well with my camera. At all. (Oh and I apologise for that Wish-like title. So many words.) But I promise you, this sandwich is as delicious as it is indulgent! I believe it's a variation of a recipe I stole from Lea Michele, but don't hold me to that. As with all of these meal ideas, you can make this as simple or as fancy as you want. This is just my chosen method. Also this is one that can be a little tricky to time correctly, but I usually do the recipe in the exact order I'm writing it down and it takes no longer than 20-25 minutes.

You'll need: Any kind of mushrooms you want, chopped
Ciabatta
1/4 courgette, chopped
Cream Cheese
Marinara Sauce (however much you want)
Optional: 1/3 Onion
1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar

How to: For the onions: Heat up a little oil in a frying pan, add your onions and 1 teaspoon of brown sugar. Mix together and let it cook on a low heat until your onions became translucent and  have an almost sticky appearance.

Put your pan on a low heat. Mix your mushroom and courgette with any herbs that strike your fancy, I personally use a mix of Italian herbs, red pepper flakes, and steak seasoning (odd but works). Spray your now heated pan with some oil spray before adding in your  veggies, let them cook through to your own satisfaction. (usually 10-15 minutes)

In a pan or the microwave, heat up your marinara sauce and slather your bread in a decent amount of cream cheese, though optional, I highly recommend the spread as it gives the entire sandwich a creamy element.

And now it's time to pile your bread with all three elements and enjoy.


And there we have it, my first What I Eat In A Day. It may not be the most fancy or adventurous but these are some of my trusty fallback meals that never steer me wrong. Would you try any of these, or do you make something similar? Let me know!



Does Our Social Media Presence Define Us?

5/24/2018

Twitter . Reddit . Instagram
Facebook . WhatsApp . KIK
Youtube . Pinterest . Chatrooms
Skype . Snapchat . Imgur
...And so many others...



Social media is a form of self expression. Whether you use your online profiles to catch up with loved ones, to promote your work, or to simply socialise, it's a way of opening ourselves up within a privacy barrier. Many "online trolls" use this as a way of being anonymous solely to spread hatred. That's why so many comment sections online can be filled with homophobia, racism, hate towards females, weight shaming, and so on. People take advantage of the ability to hide behind a screen. But doesn't that still reflect on their true selves? Of course. We judge the person behind the screen, whoever they may be, as they still wrote the words they're hiding behind. And if that's so, doesn't that mean that we all are the people we portray on social media -whether good or bad? The confidence we can give off on a status that we may not actually feel within ourselves, has it actually been inside of us the entire time?

Are we all using the Internet as a way of showing who we truly are, without having to put ourselves out there and face the scrutiny of real life people?

I'll admit that I'm a social media snooper. If I know you personally, it is very likely that I've had a good stalk on your profile and if on Twitter or Instagram, I have probably taken a glimpse at your following list. Call me crazy, but I find it interesting to know what people like to see on their own feeds. Heck, that's how I've had late conversations with Facebook friends after discovering that we both follow similar influencers. How else do we find mutual interests nowadays? (side-note: does it bother anyone else when you ask someone what they're up to and they say "watching Netflix"? It's like, tell me what you're watching! You aren't just watching the Netflix homescreen! Rant over.) But because of said snooping, I've had some disappointing outcomes.

I've had to unfriend so many family members on Facebook due to racist posts, all of which I very much doubt they'd have enough strength to say to anyone in real life. I followed one guy who is a father and has a loving wife, and all-in-all leads a normal family life, only to soon discover that he spent his free time liking images of girls no older than 16 in skimpy attire on Instagram. (It later came out that he had once cheated on his wife with a girl on a chatroom, but in his wife's words "at least he didn't do anything physically". To that I ask, isn't virtually cheating just the modern way now?) I unfollowed an older family member not too long ago who spent her free time telling people with chronic illnesses that they're likely making it up. There are so many other examples I can use, but alas, I'll get to the point.. Would they of shown that side of themselves outside of social media? Probably not. Yet they're willing to be that kind of person if hidden behind a phone or if they're able to just "like". Two peas, same pod.

In a similar sense, if you follow a lot of Youtubers or celebrities on social media you may notice a vast difference between their personalities on screen versa their social media presence on, say, Twitter or Instagram. How many Youtubers have had to put out a public apology for making an offhand written comment or a rude reply to a fan? Too many. And though they say they just didn't think - that it was an innocent mistake - is that really the case? Think about it, when we speak out loud to someone, our words can come out automatically and that's how idiotic things sometimes come out of our mouths. But writing it out on social media or in a message, at least for me, makes me rethink what I'm "saying". It takes more time to choose whether or not to click the go ahead to send something than it does to verbally reply to someone. How can a mistake be made online when we are actively choosing what we're doing the entire time? Is social media that easy to get sucked into?And if so, isn't our instant responses a glimpse into who we really are? As surely we're replying as our brains would - not thinking too deep into it.

The bottom line is, if you're a douchebag, perverted, cruel, or a bully online, guess what? That is very much reflected in your character offline. If you're known to be funny, kind, friendly or outgoing online but hate yourself once the phones go off, you need to realise that everyone likes you for you. You're still the person behind the words. They like YOU. We haven't got a switch in our brains that allow us to swap complete personalities when we untouch a keypad. If you're racist online, you're racist. If you're hilarious online, you're hilarious. We aren't boxed in by our social media bubbles and I really think we need to realise this. The personality you portray when behind your phone is the personality you have inside of yourself. You don't have to live vicariously through the Internet to make friends that you think only like you because you "aren't you" online. You're always you. Every single thing you do - online or offline - define you as a human. So choose carefully how you want to be seen. Nothing online is ever gone or forgotten, same as the real world.

So yes, I do believe that our social media presence defines the real us - good or bad. We all stalk each other and either discover how awesome someone truly is, or we get smacked in the stomach with a feeling of disappointment after finding out that someone we once admired is actually kind of an a-hole.

YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYTHING YOU SHARE/POST/LIKE ONLINE AND EVERYTHING YOU DO IS A REFLECTION ON YOU.

What's your answer? Let me know in the comments, I'd love to hear your views!


The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison [spoiler-free review]

5/12/2018


I was extremely cautious when picking up "The Book of the Unnamed Midwife" for the first time. My partner actually pointed this dystopian novel out to me at his local library, and if it wasn't for that, I can hand-on-heart say that I wouldn't of picked it out for myself. In fact, even after reading the summary, I grimaced and slid it back onto the shelf.

A woman survives a deadly plague that has wiped out most of the nation. Very few woman, hardly any children, and countless men are all that's left standing. Due to the men far outnumbering the remaining women on Earth, a battle of power comes into play and many females find themselves at the mercy of gangs. They are forced into acts that are unspeakable and those that are still lucky enough to be with their chosen partner find comfort in intimacy, and as a result, many end up pregnant. But the babies aren't surviving and the mothers aren't doing much better. Our protagonist decides that the only way to survive in the new world is to hide herself in plain site as a man, and travel through the US in search of supplies and if lucky, safety. Along the way she encounters trouble, various women needing help, and communities. She keeps account of it all in her journal.


If you're like me, then you may be thinking what I did "Rape? No, thank you." This books seems to be following in the footsteps of A Handmaid's Tale, which isn't necessarily a bad thing as such stories do have to be told given the state of our world right now. We have taken so many steps over the past few years when it comes to feminism and standing together, yet the world and the hierarchy seem to constantly be trying to pull us backward - and frighteningly, they are succeeding. Some men have yet to grasp the respect they ought to have for women that aren't their mothers (in other words, they have yet to grow out of their teenage perverted stage that goes hand-in-hand with dominating tendencies), and those that are the exact opposite sometimes get the wrong end of the stick by the women who can't fully understand the way of feminism being about equality and not being above the opposite sex. It's quite a muddle. But alas, this is a book review so let's move on. (Though I'm open to a discussion in the comments.) The plot of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife made it sound as though rape would be heavily involved throughout this story, I just didn't know how graphic it'd be and that put me off big time. Rape is a difficult topic to write when it comes to having to be accurate enough to not make it seem belittled, but without making it overly difficult to read. Don't get me wrong, a good book ought to bring out all sorts of emotions out of you, but there is always a fine line when the emotions aren't pleasant. Did this novel succeeding in riding the line? I'm still unsure.

Within the first few pages, there was an attempted rape and I would go as far as to say that it was the most graphic out of the entire book. At least in the way of the writing and experiencing the act with our main character. Throughout the remainder of the novel, we mostly get informed about such violence through either side characters or comments made by the rapists. It's unsettling and though not out of place given the story's plot, it can be sometimes sudden.


I did enjoy reading this book as I did want to see where the story was going, I will say that. I just had some problems and as someone who usually looks on the bright side of things, it's difficult for me to write my thoughts down without feeling as though I'm complaining. I'm not. I found the novel interesting and it was most certainly a different take on a dystopian world, there wasn't a huge romantic story which I was originally expecting, and that was hugely appreciated by me as it would've undoubtedly felt forced. Our protagonist is a strong-willed woman. But...

I don't think this is a female empowerment book. It isn't necessarily marketed as such, but given the overall story, it's what one might expect going into it. Our main girl was great, as I said, she took care of herself and didn't take any crap from anyone. But she was cold, ice cold if anything. You could argue that given the world, you would be cold. I get that, but hear me out. The moments that we actually saw some humanity light up within her, it was when she was thinking of sex. Which, meh, really? I get it. A year or two spent mostly alone with no one to scratch your, let's say, itches. It'd be frustrating and your sexual drive may be on the greedy side. But it felt like a slap in the face when you'd go from reading about how a woman was taken by a gang for years and used repeatedly, to how our protagonist is missing sex. Maybe the author was simply trying to include a positive outlook on sexual activities to not make the entire act seem tainted by the new world, I don't know. I just couldn't personally wrap my mind around it.


My other problem was our protagonists way of being a "strong female". She dressed as a guy, which yeah, smart. But that was the only reason she seemed strong to both us, and the other characters. I may be thinking too much into it, as I often do during these reviews. But she rarely fought back as a woman, and I think that leaves an unsettling aftertaste seen as this book ought to push "girl power" on you. The side characters weren't much better, in fact, I don't think there was a single strong-willed woman other than our Midwife. They were all meek, bar one who basically stuck with the mentality of "I'm a tough woman but I'd rather be with a guy who could potentially hurt me as I most definitely wouldn't be able to protect myself. I'm just a woman!" I mean, really?

Sigh. All in all, this was an interesting story but it severely lacked depth for the female characters. I turned the last page of this book feeling a little discouraged as a woman.

What female empowerment books have you recently read? Let me some recommendations below!






Horror Movies To Watch On A Date Night

5/07/2018


We all want a cosy night in with our partner. A couch made up mostly of blankets, wine, and a  movie or two. Alas, if you're like me, you may want to see some blood and guts on your screen during the date night. But ya know, something with a romantic twist. (As romantic as horror movies can be, that is) Here is my list of horror movies that I would gladly watch on a date night, that may not entirely kill the romantic buzz.

The Intimidating TBR Book Tag

4/02/2018

This tag is shockingly old and mainly from *The Youtube, I know this. I also know that the photo I have used only showcases one of the books I mention, sue me, I chose it because I like the yellowness. (Plus it's totally not that I really can't be bothered to take a new shot. Nope. Or because I don't officially own some of the books I mention due to my dependant on the library. As if.) Before we get started let me just make one final thing clear.. I tag you! You reading this, yup, you. I'd really love to hear some of your answers. Plus I'm always too afraid of officiall tagging people incase it annoys them. I have issues.


What book have you been unable to finish?
As much as it breaks my heart to say it, Shadow of Night (All Souls Book 2) by Deborah Harkness. The first book, A Discovery Of Witches, is one of my favourites, but despite my multiple attempts, I just can't get through the sequel. It's so slow and I've been at the midway point for well over a year now. I've heard great things about the third and final book, The Book Of Life, in the series so I will force myself to eventually finish, but blegh.

Red Lentil Veggie Burgers || Recipe

3/25/2018

Ingredients:
1 Cup Dry Red Lentils
1 Cup Breadcrumbs
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
Cooking Oil/Oil Spray (I prefer the latter)
1 Egg
1/2 Bell Pepper (Colour of your choosing)
1/2 Onion
1/2 Carrot
1/4 Cup Tinned Sweetcorn

Big Brow Problems

3/22/2018

As a girl of naturally gifted bigger brows (and by that I mean, moderately decently sized without a list of products), I am often complimented by fellow girls. It's flattering, though a little odd as having a stranger say "I love your eyebrows" is never going to feel normal. But as with most things, there are lows to the perks. Here are my top 5 brow related struggles that anyone with big(ger) brows will get.


Coffee Catch Up With A Side Of "Help!"

3/18/2018

This post may be a little rambly, so fair warning, get yourself some coffee or tea or a G&T, I'd go with the latter. But coffee is also good. You do you.


This feels weird. Writing a blog post that isn't a recipe or books? Oh, boy. How can something that was once so familiar to you seem incredibly odd after a break? Let's start with the obvious, I've been absence from the Internet since February. In fact, even January wasn't spent with a screen in front of my face 24/7. I won't lie, it's actually been quite a pleasant break. I love social media for it's ability to make someone that in other situations may be closed off and rather awkward (yeah, that's me), feel like they're able to be open and frank regarding their thoughts and day-to-day activities. I like sharing photos on Instagram and I enjoy a good natter on Twitter. But is it healthy to use the Internet as an escape from the awkwardness of real life and rarely have conversations that don't include GIF's? Yeah, maybe not. And to be, well, frank, the Internet has been a sore spot for me lately and I didn't want to be delving into the virtual world as much. 

My Social Media Anxiety: Why I Don't Comment Or Tweet You

3/16/2018


I've never been the girl to go up to others and introduce myself. I've never been the first to strike up conversation, nor have I openly asked if someone wanted to hang out. So when I stumbled across the blogging community, it seemed like a fun idea. Interacting with people who are of a somewhat similar age group, who have the same interests, and being able to do it all through the safety of text - a shy persons dream. I started my blog after a trip to Germany to visit my online BFF (See blog posts Germany Part I and Part II for details), so I guess you could say that had given me the dutch (or German) courage to go for it. If I had to come to the decision alone, I would've likely talked myself out of it as I do when it comes to most things that involve putting myself out there. Yeah, as you may of guessed, I'm painfully shy. I nod more than talk in public places and mainly stick to people I know, never really able to push myself out far enough to break out of the "routine". I could go on to explain why I'm probably like this - homeschooling, being my mother's carer, BDD - but that isn't really the point.

The 'Five By Five' Book Haul

2/28/2018


I'm currently in California so you know what that means, yup, that's right, another library sales book haul! Yay. I picked these up in a bag sale, which incase you didn't know, is a used book sale where you receive a bag for $5 (or sometimes $4 if you bring your own) and you get to fill it up to your hearts content with books. No extra charge. Magical, amiright? We have a theme on this trip with books that have either found their way to the big screen or books based on the entertainment industry (online or the biz). Enjoy! If you've read any of these, let me know your thoughts. And if you haven't, which would you be interested in picking up?


Where'd You Go, Bernadette?
by Maria Semple

Bernadette Fox is an agoraphobic architect and mother who goes missing prior to a family trip to Antarctica. It is narrated by her 15-year-old daughter Bee Branch. It is told in a series of documents (emails, memos, transcripts, etc.) with the occasional interlude by Bee.

This is actually getting turned into a movie later this year, it's set to star Troian Bellisario *fangirls*, Cate Blanchett, and Kristen Wiig. So, interesting! A great female cast. But I'm not really up to date and savvy when it comes to movies (Now horrors or TV shows, and I'm your girl), so go check out Billiam's weekly podcast Future Flicks
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The "13 Reasons Why" That You Should Read As A Teen

2/18/2018

“Anyone who has actually been that sad can tell you that there's nothing beautiful or literary or mysterious about depression.” 
― Jasmine Warga, My Heart and Other Black Holes

Last year was, in a weird way, a huge breakthrough for banishing the taboo around discussing teen suicide. Like it or loathe it, the Netflix original "13 Reasons Why" was largely to thank for this. I personally disliked the show for how it dealt with such sensitive topics, but having since read Jay Asher's YA book that the show was based on, I can admit that the story initially had a decent message, it just happened to get lost in translation.

Nevertheless, the show's adaption was done so poorly that it did act as a trigger for many young men and women. I have read the stories that I think a lot of us have, surrounding the 13 episode series pushing many young adults to suicide. It's heartbreaking. Granted, a show can't be solely responsible for someone's sadness but nothing entertainment wise should have enough power to push someone to ending their own life. Nothing. One could argue that anyone with that weight of sadness would find their reasoning in anything - this show just happened to be the source at the time. But alas, taking "To The Bone" as an example, the other Netflix original that took the sensitive subject of eating disorders and created a movie starring Lily Collins, it was respectfully done without skimping on the details that an audience may find too difficult to watch. You ended with a small token of hope that ought to always be what people take from something - especially when the something is geared towards a young audience. It's always going to be hit or miss, but these things should never be done carelessly. "13 Reasons Why" had the opportunity to create a strong healthy message and it's really disappointing how it all ended up. I have read enough books on mental illnesses to know that it can be done. If they wanted to keep the original ending, fine, but they could've easily done it in a way that didn't insinuate that suicide is not only an easy option, but something that enables you to put the blame on others.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies || Recipe

2/06/2018


Who doesn't love cookies? I'm more of a brownie girl, but my better half @BilliamSWN is a cookie chooser. Here is his go to recipe for crumbly oatmeal cookie goodness. It's a simple four steps, so what's the harm in making a batch? Be sure to tweet us photos if you do!

Classics I Want To Read

1/18/2018


Last year I dipped my little toe into the world of classic literature. I didn't read too many, but it definitely got the ball rolling for me. I have read books such as Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre when I was much younger (and yes, mostly thanks to Bella's love of books in Twilight. Don't judge me!), but they are a little foggy to me now after all the time that has passed. Here are a list of six classics that I most definitely want to pick up sometime in 2018.
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The House Of Mirth
by Edith Wharton
Lily Bart is aged 29, she is beautiful, impoverished, and in need of a rich husband to safeguard her place in the social elite, and to support her expensive habits. Unwilling to marry without both love and money, Lily becomes vulnerable to the kind of gossip and slander which attach to a girl who has been on the dating scene for too long.


“Do you remember what you said to me once? That you could help me only by loving me? Well-you did love me for a moment; and it helped me. It has always helped me.” 
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