THE MEGA UPDATE

SO it’s been awhile since my last blogpost and I can thank university assignments for that. There is an evil in having so many assignments due in roughly around the same time, so you somehow end up in a pit with all these papers shrouding over you.

Thankfully, assignments are over and done with and so are my exams therefore, I’m done with my final year of uni and I can’t believe three years have flown by!

Aside from uni, just life in general has been keeping me on my toes.All of which have kept be busy and away from my hobbies (like reading!).

There have been many weddings (well two) to attend. The food were fab though I wish they would serve more starters than the main. I’d happily nibble my way through a whole tray of shish kebabs and samosas.

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I’ve also managed to do two things I’ve never done before; indoor skydiving, and playing top golf! Granted I sucked at both but I’m glad I tried.

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I’ve made some cute stationary purchases:
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The teal coloured book is a notebook I picked up from Waterstones (they both are come to think of it) which I intend to use as a second journal when my other finishes.

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The above is my current journal and I’ve been using it for two years now, with almost a few pages left. Recently, I’ve been writing a lot more and I realised, when I’m upset or I’m stressed, writing is a great way for me to vent and feel calm.

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This planner was bought for two reasons a) I needed something to keep me organised for when I start my masters course this September and b) it was cute as f. It was a tenner but I considered it as a little treat for myself. The planner starts and ends from July, which is handy, and each page is dedicated to a day, which is also handy as I can be extra organised and manage my time for efficiently.

This month, I’ve also been busy, eating:

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Our Nandos reopened after refurbishment and I couldn’t wait to go as I was having some serious withdrawals.

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A meal is not complete without cookie dough.

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This place was called Toros and their drinks were divine. I had a strawberry daiquiri and I would literally go again, just for that. The food was good too, though pasta and chips is a weird combo. Also, their food was so hot, people and myself, were coughing on the fumes. You can just about see the smoke in the second picture.

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The day me and my friends from university went to top golf, we also went out to eat. You might have come across Smoky Boys from Noor’s blog (I went with Noor and the poor thing accidentally bit into the chilli in her burger and downed milk like she would’ve downed shots). The food was awesome- I had a moroccan lamb burger, which was the tiniest bit dry but I stilled loved each bite. You can read Noor’s review here.

We went for dessert later at Kaspas. Noor had the crepe and I had a chocolate cake with cream. Note to self, never have chocolate after burgers. Never.

I probably piled on tons of weight but oh well, I didn’t regret the food.

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My busyness meant that I couldn’t read. I haven’t read a single book since Red Queen which is incredibly sad. I did purchase the sequel and I’ve read half of it, but the rest is still on hold. Now that I have a bit more free time, I intend to finish it off and submit a review. My friends have been forever nagging me, and bullying me for not reading the Throne of Glass series. I mean, I picked up Throne of Glass two years ago (it was a library book) and didn’t have the time to finish reading it.

Now that uni is done, I’ve decided to invest in the series and begin reading them. Funny story, initially I picked up Queen of Shadows, thinking it was Throne of Glass. As I was checking it out, I was literally thinking Throne of Glass was more thicker than what I’d remember but didn’t realise that I PICKED UP THE WRONG BOOK UNTIL I GOT HOME. So I HAD to buy the whole series because I didn’t want the one book to be lonesome (any excuse eh?).

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And now we’re back to the present where it’s four days post exam. I like to revise by making posters and colour coding everything (its my inner stationary hoarder’s dream!) on a big piece of A3 paper. For me, this really helps.

So that was my mega update! Hopefully, I’ll get back to making more posts soon! What have you guys been getting up to?

 

BOOK REVIEW: RED QUEEN BY VICTORIA AVEYARD

One of the reasons why I started this blog years ago was because I wanted to talk about the books I’ve just read. Now, I’ve decided it was time to go back to where I started.

After my failed attempt at reading 25 books last year (at least I think it was 25!), I really wanted to begin again. And what better book to start with than this!

Everyone was RAVING on about this book, so naturally, I had to check it out.

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You can read the blurb of the book here!

The Good:

It’s set in your usual dystopian society with an imbalance between two groups. What drew me to this book was the whole concept of ‘Reds’ and ‘Silvers’. How people are separated just by the physical appearance of their blood. Also, the silver blood intrigued me. From the blurb, you immediately know that Mare, a Red and the main character in this book, develops her own ability which for a Red, is unheard of. Naturally in dystopian novels, something sets the protagonist apart. For example, Tris is divergent. Katniss is the mockingjay and here, Mare is a red with the power to create lightning. And I thought this was pretty badass. Especially since she is able to create something, whereas most Silvers, as we’re told, are only able to manipulate.

Although sometimes a bit predictable, the plot was great! I really enjoyed getting to know the different High Houses and the families that belonged to them. I have to say, the last few chapters were some of the best. THE MASSIVE PLOT TWIST! (Which I kind of had a feeling something would happen but it was still great to read). My most favourite character had to be Farley, the leader of the Scarlet Guard, and I especially loved her because of this:

“You want me to pin my entire operation, the entire revolution on some teenaged love story? I can’t believe this”

The not so good:

The biggest thing that irked me was the pace of the plot. Some elements had a good pace but for the most part, it was a bit too quick for me. For example, the part where Mare’s family finds out about her powers, I personally felt was an important moment but even that felt a bit too rushed. Everyone was suddenly accepting of this without questioning why exactly it’s happened. OR when she finds herself living a Silver life and becoming apart of a plan to ruin the Silvers from within… I felt like there was SO much Mare could’ve done from within to help, but I felt like she became a spectator whilst others did the work.She had an opportunity to get her hands dirty but she didn’t really do much. Minus the ending of course.

Another thing that I really would’ve loved for the author to do was to write more of Julian and Farley. I would’ve loved to get to know them more because I find them so interesting! I know there is another book dubbed ‘Cruel Crown’ which consists of two stories, one of Farley and the other of Cal’s deceased mother, also known as the former Silver Queen (which I will also be checking out!). But if Victoria Aveyard were ever to write a book from Julian’s perspective, I will definitely be picking it up.

Overall:

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I think four stars out of five is a fair rating for this book. I really enjoyed visiting another world through Mare and I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel. Especially since we were left with a very angry Mare at the end of Red Queen.

 

HOLY GRAIL SKINCARE

As well as being somewhat of a stationery hoarder, I am a sucker for anything to do with skincare. It was probably post high school, where I really took notice of my skin and started to venture out into skincare and how we should really take good care of it. Although I’m a firm believer of eating and drinking for healthier skin, I’m always on the lookout for a product that will provide some support towards that because let’s face it; when you are a student, eating healthier isn’t always the case.

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First of all, I would like to apologize for the quality of the photos. I’m not very gifted with a camera! Before I start off, I have very dry skin, and sometimes when temperatures plummet to freezing, it starts flaking. Yes, flaking (Not major flakeage but of course, this is not great). I’ve tried so many face creams to tackle my dry skin, but many of the products stop being great after an hour or so. The Aveeno Moisturising Cream has been my saviour! It’s the only cream I’ve tried so far that keeps my skin feeling moisturised! For £6.99, it really does stop your skin from drying out. From what I believe, it has oatmeal in, and that is a really great superfood for dry skin!  Lush has an oatmeal mask called Oatifix for £6.75 which really brightens up your skin. Personally, the only downfall to Oatifix was that it’s too moisturising. You definitely have to use a bit which does save you product but at the same time, you have to use it up before its expiry date (2 or 3 weeks) I believe and for me, I did have to throw away a lot of product!

The Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pink Grapefruit Facial Wash is another favourite. For me, whenever I try to use a facial scrub or exfoliant of any kind, it makes my skin red which made me come to the conclusion that I may have sensitive skin. I was recommended by a friend to purchase this, and I’ve had my eye on this for a while too. It is the one scrub or facial wash that isn’t too harsh. When my skin is feeling a bit dull or I’ve got a few spots, I kid you not when I use this, my spots minimize the next day.

I purchased the Olay Anti-Wrinkle Night Cream because when I wake up in the morning, my skin feels dry and to be honest, that is when I’m most likely to get the flakes. The Anti Wrinkle was just a bonus. I’ve never used any Olay products but this was on sale (for £4.95- bargain!) so I thought, why not? It’s been over a month since I’ve purchased this and it really does keep my skin moisturised throughout the night and when I wake up, SOFT SKIN! Also, I’ve got a few fine lines under my eyes and forehead, and now, I feel as though they’re not as noticeable! I use this every night before I go to bed, and in the morning, I use the Aveeno Moisturising Cream. By using them simultaneously, it really does help me save product.

Ok, I might’ve jumped on the bandwagon later than everyone else on this one. I’ve tried B. Micellar Water before but it didn’t really do much for me. I decided to purchase the mini bottle of the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water to trial and I have to say, believe all the hype guys. I am NEVER going back to make up wipes. Make up wipes were always harsh on my skin, and always left my skin red too. But this product gets the make up off with little ease! One wipe, and it removes almost all of the product in the targeted area. If I’m off to university, the minimal makeup I wear usually consists of a sheer lipstick and eyeliner. I always thought it was a bit of a waste using a whole wipe to take off my eyeliner. But with this, you can get a small cotton ball and take it all off! I will definitely invest in the bigger bottle once I finish this, but it’s handy to have the smaller bottle for travel. The only downside for me is how the product comes out of the bottle. I feel like the product pours out and if you’re not careful, you could easily pour most of it out. Nonetheless, I will keep on purchasing this pot of gold!

These are products that have worked really well for me, but I wouldn’t really recommend them (apart from the Garnier Micellar Water and Neutrogena Facial Wash) to anyone with oily skin as they might not work as well as it did for me, though you could always have a try.

I’m always looking to try some new skincare products and I’m on the hunt for eye creams that eliminate dark circles. I’m currently looking to try out some sheet masks, so if you have any suggestions, let me know in the comments and also, what is your holy grail skin care product?

WHAT 2015 TAUGHT ME

I have tried to keep numerous new year’s resolutions in the past, ranging from the impossible to the usual cliches.  But for 2016, I was going to keep my resolution as basic as possible, a resolution which would pretty much sum up everything in one; to do the best I can possibly do.

Especially now that I’m in my last year of university, and I’m venturing out into the adult world which, let’s face it, is pretty scary! But what with it being new years eve and all, I find myself reflecting back to how this year started, and where I am now.

This year did not start so great.

All of which are personal matters which I don’t really want to disclose and put out into the open, but it felt as if everything bad was happening to me and my family. And bad things always come at us in bulk, never in singular little packages. They hit us hard and heavy.

But one thing this year has taught/shown me is patience. I am reminded that at any stage of our lives, we face many tests. Whether it be one or a few at a time. And immediately our first instinct is we just lash out.

Why us? Why me? Why now?

The fact of the matter is, getting through ‘bad times’ with a temper and mood that can make hello kitty say her goodbyes, isn’t really the way forward. I’m not saying that it’s ok to plaster a smile when things aren’t so great either. Time is never constant and is always on the move, and similarly, we must do so as well. For nothing is ever permanent, and everything is pretty much temporary.

Oh it sounds so cliche but sometimes, the cliche is true. In the moment of your bad situation, nothing feels temporary. In fact, it haunts you everywhere and it reminds you of all the 101 possibilities that could happen next, and sends your brain into overdrive and then, you burst. And I mean mentally and physically.

Overthinking is my worst habit and plays mind games with me whenever I’m faced with a bad situation. And no doubt many others in a similar situation fall prey to it too. But sometimes amidst all the madness, I’m reminded that this bad situation isn’t forever. If it was forever, then truly, what is the point. These tests are specifically made for us to get through them.

I believe these tests are specifically designed to remind us about patience. We live in an ever changing, fast paced, ‘happens with a click of a button’, ‘I want it right now’ society. How are we even supposed to be patient in a society that believes in the complete opposite?

Right now, I am in a waaay better position than I was earlier this year and I couldn’t have gotten through the challenges without reminding myself about the godsend that is patience.

I’m trying my best to be optimistic about the new year, and some part of me really does feel optimistic. But to be honest, I’m scared. I’m scared about the new challenges that I will face, and the ‘oh shit, things didn’t go according to plan, what do I do now?’ stage of my life. But whatever I decide to do, I hope that whatever 2015 taught me will come in handy for the new year.

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me, my friends, and candyfloss