My 2017 Overview.


This year has been one of the best and worst years of my life. I found a new home that wasn't just a person, almost lost two of the very few people I have in my life, drifted away from some things that have given me happiness in the past, and most importantly, I got engaged. I know I'm luckier than most, some people have had 2017's that rival any season final of Supernatural ever. But, I'm me and these have been my defining points of this year - both high and low.

POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2017 Overview


If you have never heard of the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge prior to clicking onto this blog post, it is essentially exactly what it's called. Each year POPSUGAR put out a reading challenge that consists of forty prompts and a further twenty in the advanced section for us speedy readers. I actually didn't start taking part in this challenge until mid-August but I was lucky enough to of already managed to tick off over half of the list without realising it, and surprisingly it still managed to shove me out of my reading comfort zone. I have picked up so many books that never would've crossed my path if it wasn't for this, so to say I'm excited for the 2018 one is an understatement.

But alas, 2017 is still in full swing so here is my completed list of the POPSUGAR Reading Challenge of 2017. Enjoy.

48 Hrs To Christmas: Last Minute Gift Guide


In 24 hours, we'll all be merry with the Christmas cheer and singing loud for all the hear. Okay, maybe not the singing part. Though it seems near impossible nowadays, what with online shopping and all, many of us still find ourselves waking up on Christmas Eve with a list of people we still need to buy for. The horror! This is my rough guide to speedy gifts you can buy in a hurry.

Photo Album
Whether you're in Debenhams, Home Bargains, or Tesco.. they all sell a photo album. This is a great last minute gift that doubles as something extremely thoughtful. Include a voucher or some cash for them to print out some photos to fill it with, or go through the old boxes of unappreciated photos and fill it up for them.

Food Box/Hamper
Unlike mainstream stores, the supermarkets won't fail you on this one. Whether it's a gift box filled with odds and ends that you think the gift recipient will like, or a themed gift like a Tea Hamper, this is great one no matter what your budget it. It's also a great one for any child you need to buy for last minute, add some hot chocolate stuff, some popcorn and maybe even a movie. Speedy and fun.

Getting The Holiday Look With #BourjoisKissmass*


When the Influenster Bourjois box fell through my door featuring their products to achieve the perfect holiday look, I was excited. All the colours were deep and smoky, unlike anything I already owned. I'm a natural girl when it comes to the makeup in my life, I like to keep it simple and only really pull out the eyeliner for special occasions. The aim of #BourjoisKissmass was to share a look you create with the contents of the box, and post a selfie on Instagram. This post wasn't at all required, but I thought it'd be fun to do a little review as I don't get the opportunity to write up  makeup posts often. Yolo (is that the right use of that? I swear I will get down with the kids eventually.). I'm going to review each product individually so it's easy to skip any you're familiar with or just aren't interested in. If this format isn't the best, do let me know as I'm a novice when it comes to these type of posts.

'Tis The Season For Christmas Jumpers


Even the Grinches of the world rock a Christmas jumper come December. No longer is it silly to have a 3D elf on your chest, whoop. But with the mass amount of options online, it can difficult to decide on one. After all, not all of us can afford a closet full of 'em. This is a list of my current favourite affordable sweaters from online stores that you may not think of. Enjoy!

Go classic with this black number.

'Tis the season of cocktails and sweaters. So why not combine the two?

The perfection solution for adding a little festiveness into your daily wardrobe.

If you find yourself not loving bright colours, this is a great solution.

The perfect day-to-day sweater. 

You a bit OTT about Christmas? Wear this one with pride.

I just adore the pattern.

The perfect jumper for when you want some humour. Though don't wear it when you make Gingerbread men. That'd be rude.


The jumper that all bloggers are coveting.

This is in the 3 for 2 section! Grab some gifts and gift yourself a little sweater too.

This will look adorable with an a-line skirt and tights.

Pink and cuteness. Definitely a pick for those pastel lovers.

Yay for cats and Christmas! The best combination ever.

Mummy Elf Jumper || £12.50
Who doesn't love to match with their children? Those Christmas photos will not be unbeatable.

This will definitely make the best outfit for those work parties. 

Go different with this gorgeous pale blue shade.


This is a random one as I know it's just one option, but I've seen such an online buzz around the M&S striped one that's listed above. This is a great affordable alternative.

Where is your go to place for some fun Christmas themed jumpers? Let me know!

A Photo Per Day || November


I'm going to be honest here, I said in my A Photo Per Day || October that the month of Halloween was crappy. Pfft. Do you ever want to go back in time and prepare yourself for the brutality that is about to come? Yeah, November has been hellish. One of the worst months I've had in a heck of a long time. But alas, this is not a Bath Musings and I can keep my inner meltdown for that (fun, I know). The name of this series is now a regret as I have failed massively the past two months at posting every day. I haven't really left the house and I most definitely haven't had much inspiration for photo taking days. A lot of these photos are throwbacks, but I guess that has the theme of my month. I've constantly been surrounding with the present but thinking of better times. It's unhealthy but, yeah. Alas, here is November and let's all hope for a merry December. (Both figuratively and literally.) 

What To Buy Bloggers This Christmas | Gift Guide


'Tis the time of year for gifting, eating everything in sight, and blasting Christmas tunes at 9am. Yay! I love me some of the big C. And when it comes to buying gifts for people, I think we all want to choose something that will not only bring the recipient a little joy but will prove useful in their daily lives. Bloggers can be difficult to buy for, it's unavoidable. The usual fallback gift of candles, body products, or a nice lippy seems a little meh due to the fact that they likely already own so many. It'd be like buying a chef an egg boiler (that analogy made more sense in my head). The new site on the blogging sphere is BlogHaven, a place where you can literally fulfil all of your blogger needs. From tripods, rugs, and mugs. To notebooks, box lights, and flatlay props. I can't push this site enough to anyone out there who has a blogger friend and wants to buy them something original but thoughtful this year. Plus, everything is super pretty. Here are some of my favourites.
Bloggers can't be bloggers without some technology at their side. Whether it's necessities like a laptop/desktop or something novelty like a rose gold USB. Our jobs are based in the tech world. So you usually can't go wrong with buying a blogger something that requires charging or a battery. BlogHaven have a variety of photography gadgets to choose from, but these are my main picks. Embrace your inner Kardashian with this Phone Selfie Ring Light - $14.95 and bring your selfie game up a level. (It was the Kardashian's that pushed this product, right? Um.) If you're forced to take blog photos alone, it can be difficult - especially if taking outfit shots. How about purchasing a Phone Mini Tripod with Bluetooth Remote - $32.95 to make that task easier? If lighting is the main issue, check out this 18W LED Portable Light - $59.95 or if you're on a budget, how about this Portable Light Box - $19.95?

Free Apps You Need As A Blogger


We all love to fill our phones storage space with apps that add something to our valuable screen time. Whether it be Candy Crush, shopping, or that weird farm thing that people are now playing, apps can be a form of free entertainment so we hoard them like kids with candy. When I first got a smartphone, I didn't know what the heck to download. I looked on Google Play, got overwhelmed, and stuck to trying to figure out Instagram. Yup, I'm that uncool. Alas, over the years I have found my own personal favourites and I thought I'd share them to give you an insight on which make my blogger life easier.

A Photo Per Day || October


For the first time this year, I'm late uploading my monthly photo wrap-up. It sucks. And I'm really sorry. But to be entirely honest, this month has been a roller-coaster. It started off good with a trip to Edinburgh with my mother - the first trip we have ever taken just me and her. It created so many memories that I will undoubtedly treasure for the rest of my life, but it ended on a low note. And I guess that seeped into the remainder of the month. I've been really low lately, and I don't really know why. Everything has felt hazy and not very.. real, I guess. I don't know. Anyway, this month has been lacking in photos and I apologise for that. But on the flip side, it was Blogtober! Yay. I only missed 2 days out of the 31 expected. Not bad, right? Be sure to check out the multitude of new content on this blog. And hey, it's almost December. Christmas is fast approaching! It'll get better. Next month will be better.

Horror Movie Hidden Gems


Halloween season is upon us and we're all trying to find a movie that will make us jump out of our seats. But if you're a lover of the horror genre, you have probably seen a good portion of the "mainstream" scares like Halloween (duh! But still, a classic that must be watched), The Conjuring, or Freddy. Me and my mother are always looking for the hidden gems of the horror world, but it can be tough with so many low budget bad ones out there. Or you know, Rob Zombie movies. This is a list of some that we have watched and loved, that may not yet be on your TBW radar. Enjoy!

Don't Knock Twice

Synopsis: "Knock once to wake her from her bed, twice to raise her from the dead..." So goes a disturbing urban legend involving an abandoned house supposedly inhabited by a vengeful, child-stealing witch. When troubled teen Chloe raps at the door one night, she has no idea the horror she's about to unleash. Fleeing to the country home of her estranged mother -a recovering addict who's turned her life around to become a famous artist-Chloe must learn to trust the woman who gave her up years ago in order to stop the bloodthirsty, shape-shifting demon stalking them.
Starring: Katee Sackhoff, Lucy Boynton, Richard Mylan


Dr Botanicals Coffee Superfood Facial Exfoliator || Review


I adore face scrubs. Before I was in the know about skincare and the do's and don'ts (Okay, before I started reading blogs and watching YT), I used to scrub at my skin every night trying to shrink my pores and even out my complexion. Shockingly, it just made my skin a little dry and sensitive. Go figure. I'm still on the hunt for the perfect cleanser but I have a pretty good idea on what products work with my skin. I recently received the Dr Botanicals Coffee Superfood Renewing Facial Exfoliator for review and I'll be honest, I was a tad sceptical. Despite having only heard good things about the brand prior to this, I've never really tried a product that I hadn't openly searched for before. Was there a spot in my routine for a new scrub? The answer is yes.

Buying Uncommon Gifts This Christmas


The festive season is just around the corner and I think a good portion of us are putting off the dreaded online hunt for unique gifts that we can give to our loved ones. Basic candles and chocolates? Nah, you want to give something that carries more sentiment and most importantly, something that's unique. But where to buy these magical things? I present to you.. .

Uncommongoods is an online store that offers an array of goods that will make you the most popular gift giver of the Holidays. From Beer Brewing Journals /£21, Literary Writing Gloves /£20, to Lab Cocktail Sets /£34 and Travel Stub Diaries /£9. Yup, they have it all. Have a browse of their entire Christmas gift selection and be instantly floored by the endless options.

6 Horror Movies I Wish Would Be Remade


I'm a huge fan of the horror genre. I've seen almost every badly made slasher of the last 10 years, and am now growing into the love of the paranormal franchise. Watching a lot of cheapo movies comes with a heap of regret after the credits roll and the question "Why did they do that? It could've been so good!" gets screamed by everyone, and by everyone I mean me and my mother. As the spooky season is upon us, I couldn't think of a better time to tell you what not to watch and put a plea out in the universe for these flicks to be revamped. We can all hope.

Why I Love The Horror Genre


Ever since I was a young girl, I've been a fan of the horror genre. I remember my first experience with horror so vividly – the movie was Halloween H20. I was 6 years old and partly hiding behind the sofa, but I watched a good chunk of the 7th instalment in the franchise with my mother and her friends. My own (child) friend had gone home so I was bored and figured “Ooh. A movie. That'll be a hoot.” It didn't scare me so much as get my heart pumping. Coincidentally, a few days later I was being babysat by my mothers friend for a few hours. And because of my big talk of “Yeah, I saw H20. I'm good with this kinda stuff.” she figured it'd be fine to put on Wes Craven's A New Nightmare. We watched it the entire way through, fear churning in my stomach as I watched a tongue come out of a phone (yes, that was the scene that freaked me out), and she then made me jump by grabbing me after I walked out of the bathroom. Evil. That night, I checked the bottom of my bed for portals.

Pain Clinic For Chronic Pain (Physical Therapy Group)


Since I was 16 years old and officially got my diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, I knew that getting a placement in the pain clinic was on the cards for me. It was mentioned at every appointment and we constantly hoped the waiting list would hurry up. Nevertheless, when I received the appointment letter through the post I resembled any startled cat GIF on the Internet. I was absolutely terrified as I didn't know what the expect. I don't do well with mysteries. I'm a girl of facts and I like to know exactly what is going on around me. (Maybe I'm a little bit of a control freak. But let's keep that between us, okay?) I'll be honest, I was so anxious about the unknown that I almost backed out of going. How silly is that? My own worries were trying to get in the way of my health. Turns out, I was stressed about nothing. If you're like me, I'd like to give you piece of mind by going through the steps with you so you know what to expect on the first day of class.

Rituals... Yogi Flow Foaming Shower Gel || Review

Tanya Burr recently had a promotional code ("tanyaburr") for a free Rituals Yogi Flow Foaming Shower Gel, you just had to pay the £2.99 p&p. Not too shabby for a product that usually retails for £8.50. But I won't lie, it did take me a few minutes of pondering before putting in the order as I've never really entertained the idea of splurging on a shower gel. I'm usually the kind of girl that just grabs whatever is on offer when I do the weekly grocery shop. But as someone who struggles to relax (and who needs some extra content) I decided to take the plunge and test it out to review.

Blade Runner 2049 || [spoiler-free review]


Disclaimer: This is a guest post written by my friend Tim. He's an avid movie goer and fell hard for the recent release of Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to the 1982 original hit Blade Runner. Upon reading his brief but passion fuelled tweets about the Sci-Fi movie, I had to ask if he would be willing to write up a quick review for this blog and luckily for me (and you), he agreed. Thank you, Tim! So be prepared to read the words of a man who undoubtedly has a love for the movie world. You can find all of his links down below so I urge you to go and give him some love, he truly is a stand up guy. 

Blade Runner 2049 — I remember first watching the original Blade Runner. I was a child, barely old enough to comprehend Deckard was Indiana Jones as well as Han Solo. To say the movie was lost on me is an understatement. I didn’t get it. I didn’t understand a single thing that I watched. But what did stick with my little 7 year-old-wild-imaginative mind was the world it created. Upturned colors, rain and broody mood; Blade Runner successfully taught me that movies didn’t need to be song and dance. It awoken a place inside of me that wasn’t happy, there was no sunshine and I was happy to play there. As I became an adult I rewatched the film and actually grasped the plot, and “Tears in the Rain” became an anthem for me. Not only was it visually jaw-dropping but it helped me wrestle with reality in a way few things had. 

When I first heard they were DEFINITELY making a sequel I was NOT happy. I had hesitations and I knew it was Hollywood taking something precious and ruining it. How dare they?! Well... I’ve never been more wrong. 

Blade Runner 2049 is without a doubt the greatest sequel that has ever been made. Not only does it perfectly recapture the atmospheric future but it expands it. It is playful, it is dark, it is bleak, but most of all there is a sense of hope underlying the whole thing that I have to admire. There are entire scenes with nothing more than excellent lighting and music score that you just can’t help wanting to melt for. 

This is a movie you certainly need to see if you’ve ever considered making film. It is cinematic gold and I fear that it can never be outdone. Every one is on their absolute best game, the performances are gut-wrenching and believable for their melancholic nature. Yes, that includes Harrison Ford who I understand hasn’t needed to act for years. This is a performance that he actually gives into, and to see a peak in Deckard’s closet is the same thing as looking into your own. Suffice to say that Blade Runner 2049 is hands down, the best movie of the year.

written by Tim Means

Find him on..

The 100th Blog Post


As you have probably guessed from the title, this is my 100th post on RootingBranches. I'd lie and do the classic "what a trek it's been to get to this very moment" but, well, I only noticed my post count earlier today and am now flooded with both excitement and fear over how quickly the time has gone. It doesn't feel two minutes ago that I was writing up my first ever post "Germany Part 1: The One With All The Food " and squealing out of fear when I hit the publish button. Yeah, not much has changed.

I wanted to do a giveaway for this post as I have recently reached 1,000 followers on both Twitter and Instagram, though who knows how long the latter will last? (I see you mass unfollowers!). Regrettably not everything has come in the mail yet and I don't fully know how to go about it. Should I run the giveaway on social media? If so, which? Help would be appreciated. That should be up and running within the next week, but for now you'll have to settle on a sappy post written by a girl reminiscing about what she has gained from opening up her heart online.

When I first started this blog, I was 19 and lacking in seeing much of the world. I didn't ever envision myself travelling abroad or doing anything that resembled independence. But alas, I have come far and being able to document my journey on here has been lovely. From covering the last leg of my first ever trip abroad in Germany Part II: The Tourist Edition, to Glamping In Loch Ness, Edinburgh: Ghost Tours, National Museum Of Scotland and Serrano Manchego, Japan Town in San Francisco, my personal favourite Solvang, and the most recent return to Edinburgh with my mother. Though I merely did an Edinburgh Photo Diary for that one.

Speaking of photo diaries, this blog has given me the opportunity to explore so many of  my interests. Photography for a start, which I have mainly shared in A Drop In The Ocean, Glass Windows Of This World, and River Deep, Mountain High. My monthly series A Photo Per Day is also great for urging me to take more snapshots of my daily life. Writing is also a huge passion of mine (whaaaaaat? The blogger likes to write? Mind blowing) which I shared in both short stories that I uploaded Starhill and The Robin. And from stories we go to books, I really like books. And boy, do I show it with a wide range of hauls, reviews, wrap-ups and advice on where to get them. Search the entire category log HERE.

But most importantly, this blog has been an outlet for me to write about things that would otherwise be too difficult to bring up in everyday conversation. It's offered my thoughts an escape without the repercussions of reality, if that makes any sort of sense. Arguably You're My Sunshine has been the hardest one I have written and I still can't find the courage to reread it. Seeing as it was my first personal post, I think it did set the right tone for my overall blog. I started out heavy and didn't want to look back. Of course there are many types of personal. Take for example, the post I dedicated to my mother on Mother's Day To The Lorelai To My Rory, which is more of a happy personal. On a mere informative personal, I have Finding Myself With Online Roleplay.

To go alongside those, I have written many posts dedicated to health, both physical and mental. As a sufferer of Fibromyalgia I have covered the basis of my experience having it in Fibromyalgia And Me as well as advice on 5 Things Not To Say To Someone With A Chronic Illness. When it comes to discussing mental health, I've been more than an open book. In fact, it's as though I've ripped all the pages out and spread them across my blog for people to read. My post Living With Body Dysmorphia led me to the team at #MentalMovement and gave me to opportunity to write for them - both online and in their published work, which was beyond exciting. Since then, I've started my Bath Musings series, which acts as an online journal thing for my bad days. Most recently I uploaded a post covering my ongoing struggle with Social Media Anxiety.

Any regular readers that I have (Hi! Can we be friends?) will of seen building of my and @BilliamSWN's relationship. Our first trip together was documented in the Edinburgh/Loch Ness posts linked above, we discussed everything surrounding his podcast in Interview With A Podcaster and we announced our engagement in Life Update: I'm Engaged! We're actually thinking of starting up a blog together next year, so keep an eye out for that.

There have been so many other highlights from writing these past 100 posts, which really puts into perspective how important this blog is to me. How will I feel after 500? We'll see. After taking part in Blogtober, I do really want to keep a better schedule going with uploading. Sometimes we don't realise that we have something to say until you're forced into writing it, ya know?

So, yeah, here's to the next 100 posts and the soon-to-be giveaway. Whoop, whoop.

My Irrational Fears

We're all afraid or a little cautious about something that others may deem as silly. I'm somewhat lucky in the way of not having a crippling fear (at least nothing that I've discovered yet) that can affect my life in any way. My mother is petrified of clowns and will get to the brink of tears if we stumble across a photo of one, even the word makes her visible shudder. She also has a fear of birds, but in an entirely different way. She can walk on the same pavement as a pigeon - granted, she's pushing me between her and the creature but A for effort, but if you even suggested the possibility of her walking anywhere near a clown, she'd downright refuse. Or have a meltdown. So I guess you can say I have some "bird fears" of my own, minor things that affect me but in a non-crippling way. Only mine can be a little.. eccentric.

*NEW* Cattitude Range at Card Factory


Cats are my jam. Ask anyone and they'll agree that I'm the stereotypical crazy cat lady. I once cried over how cute my cat was but I'll put that down to hormones and not me losing my marbles.. or is it, hairballs? Heh. Ha. Okay, I'll stop. As you can imagine, when I heard that Card Factory were doing a kitty range I was ecstatic.  I've always had a soft spot for their gift ranges, and am known to ogle them online. But this time, I want to go to the store to ogle and touch. Everything is extremely cute. I had to do a blog post about them as I think people may not easily stumble across the cat goodness, and you won't find a more perfect range of gifts for Christmas time (which is fast approaching). Better yet, everything is affordable and starting at a mere £1.49. My personal favourites are the wine glass, notebooks, and beaker cup. Majorly helps that the kitty taking the spotlight looks semi similar to my own little rascal, so I'll have Mama's guilt if I don't pick everything up. 

Currently, if you spend over £20 on the Card Factory site you can get free delivery with code "DELFREE20". Perfect opportunity to stock up on Christmas cards, gift bags, and wrapping paper. Let's face it, we all hate having to carry that wrap home. Such an awkward shape when we're also juggling all our Christmas shopping.

Blogtober Wrap-Up | The Halfway Mark


So we have successfully made it halfway through the month of Blogtober. Phew. To be honest, I'm enjoying this a lot more than I initially thought I would and my desire to interact more with fellow bloggers has been going well. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and tweet someone first, ya know? Here is the run down of all the posts I've uploaded so far, have you missed any? Now is the perfect time to catch up!


Books I Bought On Vacation (And Brought Home!)

When I was over in the States, me and my partner (the dashingly handsome @BilliamSWN) picked up the hobby of Library hopping to check out their book sales. Now, sounds lame.. I'm aware of that. But it was both romantic and darn fun, if I do say so myself. If you're a book lover you'll know the rush that you get when you find a book you've been looking for on sale. It's great, so why not get that feeling multiple times a day? The only down point of our newfound hobby was the dreary realisation that I would have to part with our many, many, many finds for who knows how many months (Engagement visa issues). It took me a long darn while to decide which ones would be returning home with me, but after some pro-con lists, realistic thinking, Popsugar reading challenge consideration, NaNoWriMo, and weight allowance.. I settled on a modest fifteen paperbacks and one hardback. No bad going, aye? I may of had to leave half of my wardrobe there, but who really needs Summery clothes in Wales?

So what were my finds? What have I already read? Let the scrolling commence! 

hub by Premier Inn: The Royal Mile, Edinburgh


hub by Premier Inn is a new style of compact staying with the rooms being predominately controlled by either the hotel's app or the controller on the wall - we're talking the lights, air con, heart, do not disturb, the lot. Having hub's only in Edinburgh and London, you can definitely say it's a city thing. This is the type of hotel that you only want to stay in if you will be spending most of your time exploring your surroundings, as the rooms are snug and you have to waddle all the way downstairs for a tea/coffee. However, if you're on a budget and don't mind the small walk every now and again (or every 10 minutes if you're staying with my mother), this is an ideal pick. When researching hotels to stay at on our recent two-night getaway to Edinburgh, we found the hub to be at a shockingly lower cost than most places situated in the heart of the city. We had a few complications during our stay but nothing to put one off staying there again in future. Read on for more information.

Let's start with the good stuff, food and drink. On the first floor of the hotel they have a counter offering an array of baked goods to buy - a few toasted sandwiches (smoked bacon, cheese, or ham and cheese). muesli and oatmeal. Drink wise, you can help yourself to an unlimited amount of black Costa coffee and teas, 24/7. There is also a fully stocked bar and sodas that can be purchased. Not too bad. I understand why there is no kettle in the room, but I do feel as though it's the one aspect of the hub missing. That could be the social anxiety speaking and most others wouldn't blink an eye having to go downstairs to get drink, but alas, I'm a shy bean. (Heh. Or am I a... coffee bean? I'll leave.)

48 Hours In Edinburgh || Photo Diary


We all take a lot of photos when on vacation, right? My recent two night trip to Edinburgh with my mother was no exception. The city is gorgeous, so excuse the many photos of buildings. If you enjoy blog posts with more words, check out the overview of my first trip to Edinburgh: Edinburgh: Ghost Tours, National Museum of Scotland, Serrano Manchego.

The Winter Of Our Disconnect by Susan Maushart [spoiler-free review]


When a mother of three teenagers decides to pull the plug on their connectivity for 6 months, it sends an eruption of change throughout their family life. No IPhones, no laptops, no TV, no PlayStation. But as the time wears on, the mother starts to see the positive of what the change has brought them. Written by journalist and author Susan Maushart, this a true story and almost a day-by-day following of the time.

10 TV Shows You Need To Rewatch


From a young age, I've always been the kind of person to favour a TV show over a movie. I like the prospect of delving into a world for more than 2 hours and I enjoy the investment you can put in to the characters and story. My mum hasn't had the best of health when I was growing up, and as I seemingly stepped into the role of her carer at an early age, we needed ways of occupying the duvet days and what better way is there than a boxset that offers you over 23 hours of pure distraction? With that, we have watched a lot of shows together, and I mean, a lot. But we're creatures of habit and seem to have a certain few that we rewatch continuously, it's a comfort thing and I think being brought up with that mentally has had quite a large affect on my relationship with fictional worlds and characters that wound up feeling more like friends (I know, sad. But true.).

With all of that being said, choosing a list of just 10 shows that will now officially classed as my favourites was quite the challenge. There isn't an order to this - I'm way too indecisive for that  - but I hope you'll find a few that you're interested in, or at least have a blogstyle reminder to marathon that show you used to love.

5 Reasons Why You Should Join Your Local Library


I adore the library. Any library. It doesn't matter whether I'm a member or not, I can happily browse for a few hours appreciating all the used and loved books. Nowadays people seem so engrossed in their eBooks, audio books, or Kindles that they seem to forget there are buildings dedicated entirely to books! Okay, may be being a little dramatic, but the amount of younger people who have joined the library in recent years has dropped dramatically and that both makes me feel blue and worries the heck out of me. Some families can't afford new books, digital or not, and children depend on these incredible buildings to introduce them to magical worlds. So, if you aren't a member of your local library, here are my top 5 reasons why you ought to be.

Solvang || Ostrich Feeding, Christmas, Fairy Lights.

Solvang is a city in southern California's Santa Ynez Valley. It's known for its Danish-style architecture and romantic setting aka: fairy-lights galore. Me and my partner took a little road trip to spend a night in the beautiful town a month or so ago, and it will forever rival any romantic getaways we take. You know those places you see on lists such as "Top 10 Hidden Getaways You Never Knew Existed", usually on Facebook, and you sigh with the overwhelming wanderlust? This is somewhere that'd be on that list. It feels like you're entering another world when you take a stroll around the town, especially at night. I think the photos speak for themselves.

Finding Myself With Online Roleplay


When I say "roleplay" you will probably thing of something sexy, right? Your mind is entirely in the gutter right now. I hate to let you down, but my experience isn't with /that/ kind of roleplay. No, I'm talking about the mass online roleplaying world that isn't really discussed outside of it's realm. No, not D&D or anything like that, this is far more simple and is usually done on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram. Yup, right under your nose. Saying that, it's been a few years since I was an active player, so there could be a heap more options nowadays.

To quickly summarise, you roleplay by portraying either a fictional character from whatever type of entertainment you want (shows, movies, books, games, etc.) or make an original character. These can be plain humans or have a multitude of abilities, anything is possible. Then you write. As simple as. You write your characters story, whether that be in a chapter-by-chapter basis, or an ongoing story line that you can include other players in. If you aren't interested in anything ongoing, you can just take it day-by-day and write whatever you feel like. Tweets, statuses, anything. In theory, it's the same as having any normal social media account, only you're free to express yourself in any way you like, without the judgement of anyone in your real life. It's online freedom, and far safer than chat-rooms or whatnot as you're all hidden behind masks and it is rare for players to trade a whole lot of information about their real selves. Heck, I've been friends with one player for 7 years and only recently traded photos.

May The Fourth Book Haul Be With You


Big Little Lies
by Liane Moriarty 
Jane hasn't lived anywhere for longer than six months since her son was born five years ago. She keeps moving in an attempt to escape her past. Now the idyllic coastal town of Pirriwee has pulled her to its shores and Jane feels as if she finally belongs. She finds friends in the feisty Madeline and the incredibly beautiful Celeste, two women with seemingly perfect lives - and their own secrets.

But at the start of a new term, an incident involving the children of all three women occurs in the playground, causing a rift between them and other parents. Minor at first but escalating fast, until the whispers and rumours become vicious and spiteful, and the truths blur into lies.

It was always going to end in tears, but no one thought it would end in murder.

Forrest Gump
by Winston Goom
Meet Forrest Gump, the lovable, herculean, and surprisingly savvy hero of this remarkable comic odyssey. After accidentally becoming the star of University of Alabama's football team, Forrest goes on to become a Vietnam War hero, a world-class Ping-Pong player, a villainous wrestler, and a business tycoon -- as he wonders with childlike wisdom at the insanity all around him. 

In between misadventures, he manages to compare battle scars with Lyndon Johnson, discover the truth about Richard Nixon, and survive the ups and downs of remaining true to his only love, Jenny, on an extraordinary journey through three decades of the American cultural landscape. 

Forrest Gump has one heck of a story to tell.

Unappreciated Stores: Shoe Zone


With the likes of ASOS and Topshop hitting the big time, other stores are being overlooked. I'm a proud shopper at those clothing stores we pass by on the high street on a regular basis, never going in as surely nothing that's "in fashion" will be there. Stop walking past! (Walk, shoe related post.. there's a pun there somewhere) You can find some fashion gems in these places - especially on their online sites. Not only that, but most are way more affordable simply because they don't have the shiny Topshop price tag. I'm hoping this will become a new segment for this blog as it's never a crime to shop around a little, and as the Autumn has taken us over, we are all looking to spruce up our wardrobe, right? 

Photo by the lovely @jessskate_ - Check out her YT channel HERE!
Shop the boots HERE.
Today we're going to be concentrating on shoes. More specifically, boots. We all depend on our one pair of trusty boots come Winter but they can be expensive. More often than not, we just want something that'll keep our feet warm and something that's durable enough to survive a thousand dog walks (just me?). I adore Shoezone shoes. I've been buying from them for years and have not yet had one pair that has broken, so that's pretty darn good going. Stocked up with fur lined boots and styles that are currently hot in the press, you can't go wrong having a browse on their site. They even offer free standard delivery! 

2017 Book Wrap-Up [June - September]


If you're catching up, be sure to check out Part 1: 2017 Book Wrap-Up [January - June]

Originally there were only going to be two parts to my yearly book wrap-up, both posts covering 6 months worth of books. But I've been a little Matilda lately (what's new?) and have not only completed my goal of 50 books in 2017, but have managed to read a total of books in the last 3 and 1/2 months. Figuring that may result in one hefty post if I waited and stuck to the original plan of 6 months, I present to you part II of what now will be a trio of posts. Enjoy!
Side-note: I stopped wrapping-up after the 30th book, the others that I read in the later part of September will be in the third and final post.

by Julia Bell
A realistic portrayal of a young girl's struggles with an eating disorder. Read my full review HERE.

The Martian
by Andy Weir
Stranded on Mars, yeah, Mark Watney isn't having the best work trip. You've probably either heard of this or seen the movie based off the book starring Matt Damon. I really enjoyed this read, it was actually one of the funniest books I had read in a while which doesn't seem right given the storyline but alas, Mark is a hoot and you will fall for his boyish charm as you delve into his new living situation.

Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline
Wade Watts is a angsty teenager with only one thing in mind: to find an 'Easter egg' hidden inside the OASIS (A virtual reality game.. I guess) by its Sheldon Cooper regent creator. If you've seen the trailer for the movie and are now interested in the book, keep in mind that it looks completely different and the cast is way off. But don't let that put you off the book. This isn't usually something I'd pick up, so I will a little  apprehensive going in. But my fear was for nought, and I wound up enjoying it.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon || Book Rant


Before we start, let me say that I know I'm way late to this party. This book came out years ago and everyone and their Mum who likes YA has read it. I never planned on writing an individual review for this, but I was typing up my book wrap-up for the last few months, and I realised how much this book bugged me. So, let's call this a book rant rather than a review.

Everything, Everything has practically blown up after the movie came out. You've likely heard of it but if not, this story follows Maddy, a teenage girl who is housebound due to her extremely rare genetic disorder, severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), a hereditary disease which weakens the immune system and makes her most prone to infections. Because of this, she lives her life to the fullest at home, just her, the nurse that visits each day, and her mum - her father and brother having died in a tragic accident when she was younger. But they make her life worthwhile, with scheduled game nights and movie watching. She's always accepted her fate, but when a hot guy moves in across the road, she wants out. Basically. That wasn't the most literary way of explaining it, but I type the way the book reads. That's my biggest grip, and bear with me. 

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