RECENTLY READ #16

21 May 2016

You won't be shocked, if you keep up to date with my twitter, that exams are fast approaching and all my reading time seems to be being dedicated to English exam reading prep. Unlike the last exam(in which the resit sucked if you're interested) I have a little more choice about what I can read and it's actually allowed me to read some books that have been on my TBR Classics.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE // J.D SALINGER

 ★★

This was a re-read for me. After reading it back when I was just 13, it's fair to say I read it a little prematurely but back then I loved it and it has remained one of my favourite books since then. However, my English teacher said that your love for this book is one that changes with age; as a teenager you will love the character of Holden and what he stands for but as you grow up and experience a little more of life, you start to see him as a pretentious git. I kind of liked that idea but not so much the idea of falling out of love with my favourite book so I was actually a little apprehensive going into this again. I'd like to start by saying that, while during the second time of reading Hold did start to annoy me, I don't ,think I could hate the character that Salinger created. His outlook on life is a strange one but somehow relate able to how I sometimes feel. It understood a lot more of the plot and the story than I did the first time- I can't decide whether that had a positive or negative effect on me. Holden is a character that is a bit of a pain but one that I think, weirdly, we can all see glimmers of ourselves in him and that's the beauty of this book I think. 

THE GREAT GATSBY // F. SCOTT FITZGERALD

 

I finally did it! I finished the Great Gatsby! I think it was a book I'd spoke about right back at the start of my blog and each summer I'd give it another go but each time I got side tracked by a book I was just more interested in. But, finally I've done it with a push from the idea of it helping me pas my exams. I don't know whether this would class as cheating but I listened to the audio book instead of reading it and, while I don't if audio books are something I will delve into much, Jake Gyllenhaal's voice for this audio book was perfect. I love that man. I used Audible to listen to the audio book and while I don't think it's worth the money at all, my phone network offered me a three month subscription for just 32 so I couldn't miss out on giving it ago. As for the story, I wasn't a big fan. That didn't really shock me seeing as I'd tried and failed before.I just found it all a little bizarre and I don't whether it was something I was missing but I didn't really understand how events occurred and why; it's a bit vague without spoilers but the story just didn't work for me. What I did enjoy was the setting and atmosphere that was created. At the famous Gatsby parties; they were depicted just as I'd envisioned them and the suspense that built at certain points in the book I did enjoy. I'm glad I've finally ticked it off my TBR but it wasn't really a favourite for me.

WOMAN MUCH MISSED // THOMAS HARDY

★★

These little black classics are right gems. After deciding to pick up some poetry as another wider reading text, I found these to cover a similar topic to Ted Hughes' birthday letters. But unlike Ted Hughes response to Sylvia Plath's death, Hardy was grief stricken. I haven't read all the poems in this little book but those I've read I've loved and it's led me to learn more about Hardy and his relationship with his wife. I particularly like At The Word 'Farewell'  that describes their first meeting and how it was fate that brought them together. I also like The Voice  which has quite a supernatural feel to it. Poetry is something you can dip in and out of and I like that about it and I'll definitely be reading some more in the future. If you have any poetry recommendations I'd love to know! 

So there's the very educational based Recently Read but I like that it's making me read a little more. If you have any classics recommendations that you think I should read for my exam I'd love to know as it can be almost any classic stories! Also What have you been reading recently?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

CURRENTLY LOVING

15 May 2016

It's been a while since I've shared a few of my current favourites a.k.a the opening to every currently loving post I seem to make. I need to make these more regular starting from now so here are a few bits I've been loving recently.

FASHION

I've mentioned them already but I still love them and it's my White Old Skool Vans. Once the "Damn Daniel" phase went down and I could leave the house without someone shouting it at me, I loved wearing them and getting 20% off with my student discount from UNiDAYs made the purchase feel less guilty. They're such a nice and better alternative to my white converse. I've been wanting some dungarees for ages and when I saw these Black ASOS Dungarees. Now, I was a bit disappointed with these as after just a week the fastening had broken off I had to get a replacement fastener off Amazon, I still really do love these dungarees and am already looking to buy a second pair for summer. For my birthday, I received a Joma Jewellery "A Little Sunshine" bracelet and I haven't taken it off since. It was such a lovely present and one that would be a great gift for friends. 

BEAUTY

Not much has changed with me and beauty recently but one little thing I've been loving is my Rimmel Lip Liner in East End Snob. It's such a subtle colour but still adds a lot and makes my lips look ever more full. I went back to an old favourite when it comes to mascara as I picked up The Maybelline The Falsies Mascara. This is a great one that really does look like you have false eyelashes giving them length and volume without looking spidery. 
I've been really trying to find "my scent" recently. It sounds a bit daft but my perfumes have just been boring me so when a woman came over and let me try the Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Perfume I was hooked and, again, had to spend money I don't have but I don't regret it as it's such a great versatile smell that I can wear night and day and is also a real refreshing summer scent. 

SKINCARE

While beauty hasn't changed much, skincare has especially when it comes to creams. I have stuck with my Garnier Moisture Match moisturisers for over a year now but they don't seem to be doing it for me anymore so I thought I'd try some Nivea bits and I'm so happy with what I found. The Nivea Day Cream for dry/sensitive skin has been great and along with the Nivea Night Cream for dry/sensitive skin has given me around the clock hydration and I love them as well as them lasting a lot longer than other moisturisers; you definitely get your money's worth.
Keeping the hydration theme, this is something I mentioned back in Winter and after, (surprise surprise) splashing out back in January, I've been loving the Lush Ro's Argan Body Conditioner. It wasn't cheap for what it is but it smells amazing and is such a treat to use especially after you've shaved your legs. It's also great for my Keratosis Pilaris(basically just goosebumpy arms) and makes it a great base for fake tan as well. 

FOR STUDENTS

8 May 2016

If you're a student like, me you probably, also like me, are always trying to find ways to make school and college that little bit more bearable. Over the past two years, I've stumbled across some great helpful apps and websites that I love and I think you will too. Some I've shared with you before but there are some new finds too.

SHMOOP

Having trouble finding resources? This is one to check out. I can't say it's great for all subjects but for English especially it's been great; they have chapter summaries and analysis for almost all the books I need which means I can get to grips with books quicker and better. 

GRAMMARLY*

I'll admit it, I rely way to much on spell check which isn't always the best as half of the time it doesn't correct the actual problem. That was until I stumbled across Grammerly which lets you upload your essays and will check it for grammar as well as telling you why so you can check that the correction is right and suitable. There is also a chrome extension which means it can check blog posts like this one for any mistakes. There is a free version but also an upgrade where they can check your work for more technical mistakes, plagiarism and much more. It's definitely worth checking it our. I have my own link if you would like to have a gander here.
If you're a college student and you haven't signed up to UNiDAYs what are you doing? It has some amazing student discount offers to make your shop online and in-store that little bit cheaper. They also have boosters of certain brands often to make the discount even better. The one I'm most grateful for is 50% of Spotify; it's the best. Whenever I'm about to put an online order in now I always check UNiDAYs to see if I can get discount or find somewhere that has what I want at a greater discount. If you want to save a little money but still can't not shop, give this a look. I have my own link for this too which you can sign up to UNiDAYs for free here.

GOJIMO

This is a great little app to test yourself the morning before exams. Simply choose the qualification, subject and exam board and quickly test your knowledge. What I love about this isn't doesn't just say "aw bad luck you got it wrong" but shows you the right answer as well as giving an explanation. It's one that can you use before you revise, see where your weak points are and go back and see who you do another time.

SLIDESHARE.NET

Sadly, we all come across a bad teacher at least once if our time at school. If you haven't I envy you but for those who are currently struggling with a teacher, check out slide share where many teachers and other students post resources and power points on the lessons you've had. Just search the subject, topic and, for safety, your exam board and look through a power point. Warning though, some aren't the best and some might offer information that your teacher doesn't teach but that doesn't always mean they've missed it out. A lot of the time, teachers from different schools have a choice as to certain aspects to teach but still giving everyone enough information to do well in their exams. Apart from that, it's a great one to just take a little time to search and you might come across some rally useful information. 

So there are just a few online websites and apps that have made my life as a student just that little bit easier and even though we're coming to the end of the school year, I hope you find them a little helpful.
Do you have any suggestions to make things easier as a student?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

* This post does contain affiliate links where I receive a small cut of anyone who signs up using my link but all opinions still remain my own x

DEAR CORNWALL,

4 May 2016

I really didn't see things ending up the way they have. There was a time a called you were my best friend and that's weird to think about. Staying at each other's houses, making up the stupidest dance routines, even going away together.I felt like I could trust you with anything but things changed. Just like they always do. 


You started to grow up into one person and I started to grow up into another and I think we both accepted that quite early on.But still, we didn't want to lose each other and our friendship continued all the way up to year 11. I think, for you, I was a reminder of the old you and while that was comforting, you didn't always want the constant reminder of how you used to be. But now, I'd like to think you miss that because how you now makes me nothing more than sad. While I wish you feel that, little things tell me you don't as while I still have pictures of us together all over my facebook page with albums of old memories, I go on to your profile and all I see is the "Add as a Friend". It might be something stupid but that was the big giveaway that things had changed and there's little of chance of things going back.

You know, there was even a point when I blamed myself. Should I have tried harder to keep in touch, maybe tried to stop you from getting into the wrong crowd? But then I thought, how? How would I have been able to single-handedly take you away from your new friends and the new life you live?

It had been a year since high school when I next saw you and I looked at you and didn't recognise you. The bags under your eyes, the way you dressed, the way you spoke. You were a stranger to me. That was until one of us made a joke and we both giggled and it was like we'd never been apart and that made me sad. There was still this naive, hilarious girl who had no care in the world under all that persona you seem to put up.

I'll admit it, it got to the point where I was hearing so many stories of what you'd be doing and shaking my head wondering how this happened and, yes, blaming myself. But I soon realised it's your life, you have to make these mistakes and, you might disagree now, but that is just what they are. 

I'm sick of hearing stories of you verbally attacking people who you once called your friends just to please your new ones in an attempt to gain their respect when, at the end of the day,  all you look like is a fool. I really hope you realise what's happened to you these past few years hasn't been, in my eyes, for the best and you realise you've got to change and you can. I saw the side of you that time that everyone loved you and it's the side of you that's the real you so why hide it?

Knowing that I've lost you to a life that is just not right hurts me so much and knowing I can't help you makes it even more painful. Please realise what you're doing to yourself, what you're doing to the people who loved you and change. Change for the better and know that I'll always be here as an old friend who doesn't need facebook to tell me that. But, for now, it's goodbye. 

Sarah x

More from my goodbye letters: intro/disclaimer // Dear Watson // Dear Spongebob // Dear 2013 

HAIRCARE

30 Apr 2016

Back at the end of last year I finally decided it was time to chop off my long locks and go something a bit shorter. It's not like I went from Rapunzel to a pixie cut or anything but it took a little bit of time to adjust to actually being able to get a brush through it easily and get it actually straight without it taking two hours to do. I decided it was time to switch up my hair care and try out some new products and I think I've found some great products. 

My hair is prone to greasiness and, annoyingly, there aren't many shampoos geared towards oily roots but when my sister recommend I try a lush shampoo bar I thought I would give the Jumping Juniper Shampoo bar a go. I was a bit precarious to start thinking it will only last a few washes but it definitely lasts a lot longer especially by putting it in a small pot after each shower. I feel it leaves my hair super clean but also really soft which I love. If I'm not using this shampoo bar, I reach for my Alberto Balsam Tea Tree Shampoo or Head & Shoulder. I've also found them great for hair prone to oiliness. 

When it comes to conditioner, I'm really not that picky but I'm hooked on the Herbal Essense Beautiful Ends Conditioner. It claims to stop split ends and help repair them which, I'll admit, I think is a load of baloney but the smell is amazing and seeing is I'm using a lot more heat on my hair these days, I'm hoping it will do a bit of good. 

It might come as a surprise, but I've recently ditched my beloved John Freda Fizz Easer Serum. It was great when I had long hair but now I regularly straighten it, it's not as necessary. Instead, however, I've been using the Got2be Styling Oil. To start with, I applied a bit to the ends of my hair after styling but now I've found it to work best by applying a small amount over my hair after I brushed it through before I dry it. It leaves my hair feeling soft, helps tame and style my hair. 

Speaking of styling, I don't do much of it with my hair differing between three hair styles: up, down and the half-up-half-down. As I've mentioned, I've been straightening my hair a lot more as it really helps me control my thick head of hair that little bit more. The straighteners I currently use are The BaByliss Pro 235 Smooth Straightener. They're nothing special but they do the job and think they'd be perfect for curling as well. While I'm not one to get split ends even with all the straightening recently, I still don't want to take chances so I use the TRESemme Heat Defence Spray. It's been a product I've used for years and one I've just stuck with.

I've recently discovered a new dry shampoo instead of my Batiste which I think is a Tesco's own which is the Girlz Only Dry Shampoo for blonde hair(even though I'm basically brown). I've been wanting to try out a coloured dry shampoo and so I thought I'd give it a go and it actually works pretty well at refreshing my hair as well as not leaving that annoy white residue. I've also ditched my Tangled Tezzer which has basically fallen apart for a cheap version that I think is also from Tesco which is theTangle Attack- a complete rip off from the Tangle Teezer but I think it's much better especially if you have thicker hair to get through all the knots instead of just grazing over them.

So that's all for hair care; nothing too interesting but I thought it might be useful if you're in need of some budget friendly hair products. Do you have any good hair care recommendations?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

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