RECENTLY READ

3 Feb 2018

I think I'm getting worse and worse at making sure I have time to read. I thought 2016 was a bad reading year but, some how 2017 managed to top that. I'm not going to promise I'll be better but I'm going to at least try. Starting as I mean to go on, here are four of my most recently read books and a little review of each of them.

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STATION ELEVEN // EMILY ST JOHN MANDEL

★★★★☆


Post apocalyptic is a genre I don't often venture into but after the recommendation from my sister and later urged by a friend to give it ago, I finally gave it a read. I was unsure to start but I grew to love the different twist this book gave compared to usual zombie-killing apocalyptic novels and films. It focussed more on the life that people lead after and how they survive. I appreciated the links between different people's lives and how everything kind came together. This is one I'd definitely recommend and one that, if it was something I did often, I would read again. 

HARRY POTTER & THE ORDER OF PHOENIX // J.K ROWLING 

★★★★☆


This has to be my favourite of the Harry Potters so far. While it was the most daunting of the series due to it being the longest book I've ever read. Surprisingly, it didn't feel like it was that long and maybe that's why it has to be my favourite of the books so far. There were so many plot points that I really enjoyed and I felt like the story really developed with more darker tones starting to be added now in the build up to the final books. While it is my favourite so far, I sadly can't give it five stars as *BIG SPOILER* Sirius' death was no where near given the space it deserved. It wasn't as impactful as I wanted and for someone who Harry had started to become more and more close to, I felt it didn't do their relationship justice. 

TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN // JOHN GREEN

★★★☆☆


It's been a while since I've read a John Green but I wasn't going to miss snatching this up and giving it a read. His books played a massive role in the reason I got into reading but also blogging; one of my first ever posts was about Looking For Alaska. Time has pass since then and I've fallen in and out of love with reading. This book is one that for any John Green fans, they will love. My feelings were mixed on this book. While I enjoyed the mystery aspect of this and the reuniting of friends, for me, it just didn't have the same impact that his other books have had. I remember reading the first few pages and actually rolling my eyes. I was reading thinking it was a little pretentious and overly wordy in a way it just didn't need to be. However, I really enjoyed the plot of the story as it covered topics of love, grief, friendship and mental health; all topics that make for a great YA book. I think the way he handled the topic of mental health was actually done really well and shed some light on some realities of this illness. I can't really justify only giving it 3 stars other than maybe I'm starting to out grow his style? I will always and forever read John Green books but sadly the novelty that I used to think they held seems to be disappearing. While I say that, it wasn't a bad book and had so many good points like the mystery (I love a YA mystery!) and of course it's got the famous John Green metaphors that everyone loves. It wasn't his strongest book but I'm glad he's back and publishing. 


GOOD NIGHT STORIES FOR REBEL GIRLS // ELENA FAVILLI

★★★★★


This was a Christmas present and one I'm so happy I got. This book gives the stories of 100 amazing women throughout history. There's people you know and probably some you don't but they all have stories that need to be heard and recognised as amazing achievements. I also want to mention the fabulous illustrations that come along with each of the stories; all by different artists, it makes the book a celebration of being a woman. It's such an uplifting, inspiring book that I think it's one everyone should give a read. It's one you can read in one sitting (like me) or something you can come in and out of. While I might not be the main demographic of this book, it still really appealed to me. I also think how it's written and presented is something that will definitely appeal to younger children and can probably act as a really inspiring book for young girls. 

So here's there's my long overdue Recently Read. If you have any recommendations, feel free to throw them my way!
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

THE BEST OF 2017

22 Jan 2018


While I'm almost a month late, I wanted share with you some of my favourite products and memories of 2017.
The Good Stuff

SuperDrug Day Cream

I only picked this up at the end of last year as you might have seen in my "ON TRIAL SKINCARE" post. From that, it's quite apparent that I really liked this day cream. The texture, the smell, the absolutely fabulous hydration it gives my ever so dry skin is exactly what I need. Cruelty-free and super affordable made this an everyday staple in 2017. 

Superdrug Vitamin E Hydrating Mist

Super drug have been really killing it this year for me. Their face mist is another one of my favourites. While it's not a setting spray, it still gives my face a nice refresh and helps my make up look a little more dewey than it does without. Such an affordable addition to my make up routine. 

Kat Von D Foundation

Another one I picked up in the second half of the year. After getting a new job (that I last 3 days at) I thought I'd celebrate with a foundation I was eyeing up for a while. You can read all about my experience here in my more in depth review. Since writing this, my opinions on this foundation aren't as positive as I first said after having some more time to get used to it. However, this foundation has still been my full coverage choice whenever I need one. 

Freedom Eyebrow Powder

Throwing it back to the start of the year now when I decided to pick up this Anastasia dupe. This, along with the pomade, has made doing my eyebrows all the more easy. Having such a great colour selection, it wasn't hard to find the perfect ashy brown I needed all for only £4. I'm already on my 3rd one of these and it's worth it every time. 

The Body Shop Vitamin E Sleeping Mask

This has been the hydrating life saver of the year. I've come to apply this every night to combat my dry skin. It lets me wake up to better skin than I went to bed with. Now, with The Body Shop 100% cruelty-free, I more than happy to be sharing this product with you. I urge anyone with dry skin to give this a go! Something I use almost every night and I'm still no where near finishing it. 

Urban Decay NAKED Concealer

If only I'd discovered this sooner in the year...Since finding out Collection is not a cruelty-free brand I've been on the hunt for a replacement concealer. It's been hard to find one pale enough for me but this one is perfect! While slightly more pricey than my usual concealer, I think it's worth paying that little bit extra for something of better quality and cruelty-free. 


Books?

This has to have been the worst year for reading for me. If I wasn't reading Psychology related books that bored me to death, I was trying my best to read all the Harry Potters before I make it to 20 (sidenote: I haven't done it). Out of the minimal number of books I've managed to read this year, I have to give an honourable mention to Freshers by Tom Ellen. I am probably slightly biased with it being set at my university but it was one of the only books in a while that has made me laugh out loud and want to read the book within a day. It's definitely one for uni goers but even if you're not, I'm sure you could still relate to the funny nature of this teen book. 

Thanks for the memories

So I can usually tell whether a year has been a sucky one or not (even though the trend usually follows the former). 2017, however, is hard to categorise. With university taking up most of my time, my year has revolved around just that. So, I'd describe 2017 as average. With the stress of exams right at the start of the year laced with a few hysterical moments, I think my 2017 is best summed up as average. Nevertheless, there are some standout memories that I thought I would share. 

Music

With Lewis Watson back at the start of this year followed by Community Festival in Summer and then VANT and Nothing But Thieves to end the year, it's not been a mad one for music but the concerts I've witnessed were ones to remember. My first experience of a festival is one that has definitely set off a want to go to more festivals in the future. I forget how much I love the gig atmosphere so fingers cross to more gigs to come in 2018. 

Uni life

As I say, my life has basically come uni work and, if not, actual work at my part time job. Even with this stress, it's given me some great opportunities to live with and be surrounded by some of my favourite people. It's very rare that I don't go a day without laughing; whether it's from hearing a daft joke, internet meme or just losing the plot as we all become bogged down with deadlines. University life is definitely entertaining.

Friends

If it's not being surrounded by friends at university, having my friends from home come to visit has given me some great memories. It allows me to be a tourist in my own city as well seeing my old friends interact with my uni friends is just great. Having Kirsty come up for a weekend gave me the breather I needed from my never ending deadlines. Also, starting the year off with Jacob and Jade visiting me for my birthday and then again at the end of the year before we drove home for Christmas. This reminded me how lucky I am to have those two to act like three old women together.

So there's a little run down of the things I loved and enjoyed in 2017. Let's hope 2018 brings me more fabulous memories!
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x 

A PAY DAY WISHLIST

21 Oct 2017

While working can be tiring, it does have it's perks when you have a bit of extra money to spend it on yourself. Here's what I've been eyeing up to spend my wages on this month. 


I don't know about you, but my email is constantly congested with newsletters from online retailers. Usually, I delete them before I even have the chance to look but I stumbled across a New Look email that included these Black Spot Frill Hem Cropped Trousers. I have similar pants to this and they're great to chuck on for my 9am lectures- comfy but still looking like I've made some effort. 

If you know me, you'll know I'm quite obsessed with anything slightly mustard. So when I saw someone at uni in a mustard scarf, I had to hunt one down. When I  was browsing New Look for the trousers, I thought I'd see if they had something similar and they did. This Yellow Ribbed Knit Scarf is exactly what I wanted now that'll be great for the coming winter months. 

Linking to keeping warm, I'm after a travel mug. As much as I love the porcelain ones from places like Cath Kidston, I wanted something that didn't matter if it was thrown in my bag when I was in a rush. It was when I was browsing Lizz's blog "ETHICAL EVOLUTION" when I saw her post on her Zero Waste Goals which featured an Ecoffee mug. I love her idea behind this purchase so I think I'm going to pick one up myself off amazon. They have some really nice patterns but I particularly like the blue floral one above. 

I sadly haven't had much time for anything other than my job and uni work but a new book will always spur me on to take some time out of my day for myself. I'm tempted this month to pick up The Power by Naomi Alderman. The premise sounds like an interesting one and so I think it would be one that would be good for my next read. 

Stranger Things Season 2 is due to be released very soon. In honour of that, Topshop have released some Stranger Things T-shirts among other things related to this release. I'm very tempted by a few of the t-shirts. For £20, I think that's fairly reasonable for a Topshop t-shirt so maybe I'll look into it soon as I think they'll be selling out quite quickly. 

If I was really going to splash the cash this payday, I'd finally get the Kanken Backpack in Ox Red that I've been eyeing up for far too long. £75 just seems like a price I can't easily justify but still I look at this bag every pay day. Maybe next pay day, who knows?

So here are just a few things I've been looking at buying this pay day. Do you have any favourites you think I should look into buying? 
This post is a little different to the usual thing but if you like this kind of thing, let me know!
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah X

YORK FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL

30 Sep 2017


Read about my day out in York and the great food I had. 


If you didn't know already, I'm now in my second year of university at the University of York. It's freshers week at the moment so first years are now roaming about finding their feet. Some of my house and I decide to try and escape the on-campus madness and head into the centre. York Food & Drink Festival is currently on and so we decided to have a look around and eat way too much food. 

I decided to try something different. While a lot of the festival food seemed to be big burgers and meat, I found, not actually at the festival but on the markets a new little company selling vegetarian curries. I went for the Red Lentil Dal and Bombay potatoes. Taking pictures of food isn't really my forte and so I didn't manage to get one before I was eating it.
You'll have to take my word for it when I say I really enjoyed it; the potatoes were lovely and the curry, being something I hadn't tried before, was really nice to eat with the bit of bread that came with it. I wish I had some rice to go with the rest of the curry because it was really tasty and I think I'll be trying to remake this curry myself soon.  

We then spotted a cute little truck selling crepes and so my friend and I decided to go halves on one and we were so glad we did. It was white chocolate, Nutella and strawberries and it was delicious! It was a messy affair but really nice all the same. We struggled to finish it we were so full. 

We headed back into the main strip of the food and drink festival; while only small, there was a lot on offer. Some of the stalls looked so inviting I couldn't not at least take a picture. I liked the way local businesses had come together to offer some great food that you could tell everyone was loving. It was such a lovely atmosphere that reminded me of the York Christmas markets which I'll be definitely heading back to later this year. 

I hope you enjoyed this little day account and the photos along side it. Let me know if you'd like to hear more about what goes on in York in future posts. 

Hope you're doing great,
Sarah X

CURRENT MUSIC FAVES

27 Sep 2017

I thought it was time I share with you some more of my favourite artists and bands at the moment. 

VANT 
This is a band that’s a bit heavier than what I’m used to but they quickly have become a band I listen to on the daily.  Their song "Birth Certificate" reminds me of the type of song you hear at the start of a 90s chic flick and I don’t have a problem with that at all. If any of you are to know one of their songs, it’s Karma Seeker; a little slower than some of their other songs but still a great one to belt out and sing along to. Some band’s music is made to be performed live and VANT are definitely in that category and that’s why I’m so excited to see them live in the coming months. 

My top picks: Karma Seeker, Do you know me?, Birth certificate & Mess Around

NOTHING BUT THIEVES 

I saw them over the summer at Community Festival in London, their new album was released and now I’m looking forward to seeing them again in November. Like VANT, they may be a little heavy for some, but you can’t deny how amazing they are with their lyrics and performing live. I’m yet to give their new album “Broken Machine” a really good listen but, from what I’ve heard so far, I already love it!

My top picks: Amsterdam, Ban All the Music, Itch & If I Get High

LEWIS CAPALDI


If you like something a little slow, I’d give Lewis Capaldi a listen. Sadly, he only has two songs on Spotify for me to enjoy but they are two beautifully written and beautifully played songs. With great lyrics and a unique sound, I don’t know anyone who could deny Lewis’ talent. He’s already done so well and I can’t wait to hear more from him, hopefully, soon. 

My top picks: Bruises & Lost On You

JORDAN MCKAMPA

You may have seen, if you follow me on twitter, that I’m loving Jordan McKampa at the moment. After first hearing him at a Lewis Watson gig earlier this year which he supported (Read about the gig here if you’re interested), I haven't stopped listening. Jordan Mckampa’s voice had kept me company on many train and bus journeys this summer and I’ve grown a fairly big fan of his over the past year. His singer-songwriter vibes added with the Matt Corby feel he brings to a song are just what I like. Jordan is one I want to see live again in the future. 

Top picks: Saint, Midnight & Teardrops in the Hurricane


HARRY STYLES

I’ll admit it, I was, and still am, a bit of a 1D fan (you’ve got to admit some of their songs were catchy!). Harry’s own music was the one I was most looking forward to and it’s the one one that really interests me. I would suggest giving his new record a listen even if you already have biased ideas of the ex-1D member. His sound is a great one and even sounding like Bowie in parts- you might be surprised! It’s such a good mix of slow melancholic sounds with more rock tracks that I think make a great all-around record. 

My top picks: Sweet Creature, Two Ghosts, Kiwi & From the Dining Table. 

CORELLA

Another recent discovery  are this great band. They were another favourite over the summer and I give at least one song a listen daily. They haven’t released as many songs as I would like but everything I hear makes me want to see them live! I can't really say much more other than give them a listen. 


My top picks: Barcelona Girl, Fever & See the Day

If you've heard of any of these bands and artists before I'd love to know what you think of them. Are there any mentioned that you've not heard of an might check out?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x
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