DEAR 2015

28 Dec 2015

Dear 2015, 

Oh how I've loved you! You've treated me so well so thank you! You've brought me so many amazing surprises and life long memories. The first month of the year seems to long ago to remember but I remember my birthday. I'm not big into birthdays but this was a good one. Just a simple shopping trip with friends to come home to mounds of presents I was just not expecting. That day something changed. I think I actually enjoyed my birthday!

Saint Raymond came around in February; the best live gig I've been to. That night really sticks out to me. School work carried on with mocks coming and going and quickly the real exams were in sight before I'd even had time to process that it had been a year since I started college and oh how it flew by. Exams were sat and nerves were high but it was soon over which was when things got interesting and I grew extremely happy. It was then that I finally accepted things had changed. 

Being offered the opportunity to go to China is not something that comes around very often and wasn't an opportunity I was going to miss. Travelling the furthest from home I ever had to experience a culture like nothing I'd seen before and to create everlasting memories was something I'm so grateful to have experienced. While enjoyable, it was a draining time and I needed quite a lot of recovery time time but nothing could have beaten my time there. 

It was only a week or two before it was back to college to pick the dreaded AS results of, after a remark 3As and a B, I was so proud of myself. It felt like all my hard work had paid off and I couldn't of asked for anything more. Results were followed by celebrations followed by big decisions of deciding what to carry on next year and to start applying to universities for the course I finally decided on-Psychology. It was always an idea to go into Psychology that stayed at the back of my head and when it came to deciding what to do, it jumped forward, pushing me to my decision. I went to a few university open days and after hours of driving around the country, I finally decided which ones I loved even though they are so far away from home. I've already received 3 offers so fingers crossed for the last one! 

The rest of summer was filled with times with friends before heading to college again to start my final year. It started off a struggle (no one warns you of the change from AS to A level!) but I think I'm finding my footing again as we go into another round of mocks. Another Saint Raymond concert and more time with friends was followed as we came come to the end of a good year. 

2015, you have been a year of discovery and realisations as I've come to appreciate many aspects of my life. I appreciate all the amazing opportunities that come my way. I'm grateful for the close knit group of friends I have that can turn anything into a good time. I've realised there's no longer any point tying to keep things the same as they were in high school and that being stuck to years ago is stupid. I think, by looking to the future, I've managed to enjoy the present ad had an amazing year.

There has been some downs as there always is every year but I feel I've grown a  lot stronger and am able to deal with them a lot more. I appreciate more than ever my family and how much they have given me and I wouldn't of had a good year without them.

Thank you so much for an amazing year 2015 and here's to the next one!

I'd love to here some of your highlights of this past year in the comments! Any big achievements? fun times with friends? I'd love to know!
Hope you're doing great and has a great Christmas, 
Sarah x

(RECENTLY) READ #12

23 Dec 2015


I finally managed to get through 3 books. It may have taken months but I've finally done it after being stuck in a reading slump for months on end. Next year, I hope will be better so I wanted to get these 3 book reviews up for you so I would start a fresh next year!

Trouble is a Friend of Mine // Stephanie Tromly 

Hot Key books kindly sent me this and is one of my favourite books I've been sent to read. It was laced with humour while full of mystery. When Zoe opens the door to find Digby from school there she didn't think that she'd spending her time from them trying to solve a mystery with him. Digby is a young Sherlock Holmes with the same slightly rude traits that Sherlock carries. This book was a great teen twist on a mystery novel and I wish there was more of them. I loved how the incorporated teen problems such a divorced parents and crushes into the book. I loved the dynamic between both Digby and Zoe as well as Digby's best friend. It was the fist time I'd properly laughed at a book in a while and the mystery that came with this book really had me hooked. Such a fast paced book. For me, though the twist to the mystery wasn't enough and I don't think the ending was the strongest but the ending did leave room for a sequel and if this would to be turned into a series I would happily read more about Digby and Zoe's mysteries.

Extraordinary Means // Robyn Schneider 

This was a book I'd been meaning to give a read for a while and I really did enjoy it. The storyline about a a boy finding himself in Latham House; a house dedicated to teens with tuberculosis. When he's there he sees a girl he once knew, Sadie;the shy loner turned popular, trouble maker. It was a well paced story and so enjoyable following the group of friends and the mischief they got up to while at Latham House. The only criticism is that, again, the ending felt rushed and very sudden and, well, slightly predictable as to what would happen. A story of friendship and loss; a book that was sad yet really enjoyable.

The Martian // Andy Weir 

I think this book will be the last book I read if not the last book I review this year and am I glad I read this book now! IT was such a funny read and was different to what I would usually pick up; I feel it's really set me up for a good reading year next year. This book is about a man named Mark Watney who finds himself alone on Mars after his mission was aborted and his team thought he was dead. The story follows him trying to survive and try and contact Earth. This book contained quite a bit of science but it wasn't too hard to follow along. We have different points of view in a way with log entries from Mark on Mars and parts where we see what's going on on Earth. I loved the differing points of view and ways the story was told; I think it really intrigued me to carry on reading just that little bit more. Now, if I was stranded on Mars I think I'd just panic but the way Weir has created the character I loved as Mark briefly panicked before trying to come with a solution. The humour throughout, I feel, is the reason I kept reading. I've tried similar books before and just haven't bee interested but this has really changed my perception of scince-fiction and I'm very happy about that! If you haven't pick this book up yet, be sure to in 2016! What would you do if you were stranded n Mars?



I haven't red much recently but those I've read I've loved! Now the slate is clean as I head into the new year and hopefully I won't hit a slump like this again!
Do you have any book recommendations?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

BEST OF 2015

17 Dec 2015

Earlier in the week, I shared with you my favourite beauty picks of 2015 and so today is the one I'm most excited or and that's basically everything else so there's no point wasting time and I'll get straight into it. 

BOOKS

I'll be honest, this year in terms of reading has not been great. I set, what I thought, was quite a look challenge of 35 books. While I saw many achieving their 100 book goals and beyond by June, I hit a pretty bad reading slump around that time and still now as my life quickly became hectic and reading became the last thing I had time to do. However, I still read some corkers this year staring with The Giver by Lois Lowry. This was such a quick read and such a great premise for a book. I'm still yet to read the sequel but this has just reminded me to pick it up in the new year. I've continued to love my Young Adult Contemporaries with my first book of the year becoming a favourite straight away and that's The Manifesto On How To Be Interesting by Holly Bourne. This was a book that took me a while to grow to like the character and I was scared, due to the books topic, that I wouldn't but this book really struck a cord with me and included topics that need to be addressed for the people of the reading age. E.Lockhart did it again as I finally read The Disreputable History Of Frankie-Landau Banks. I loved the adventure element to this book with the pranks pulled. It brings up different points to do with Feminism as well which, while in some places I disagreed with, I found interesting overall. The quickest I've ever read a book beating out The Fault In Our Stars so of course it's a favourite. If you want to see the 16 out of 35 books I managed to read this year and brief opinions, you can check out my Good Reads.

MUSIC

If you've read some of my more music based posts these will come to no surprise. The first of which is Saint Raymond. I don't think I could urge you any more to give him a listen and if you like him to not hesitate but find a concert of his to go to. I've seen him twice this year. The first in February where I came to the conclusion it was the best concert I'd ever been to only to beat himself back just last month as the second concert was even better. Shawn Mendes was a favourite at the start of the year and along with Saint Raymond, after checking my spotify year in music, they were the constant top artists for the year which couldn't be more accurate in my eyes. Also up there was Years & Years when I went through a few month stage of listening to their album on repeat whenever I had a chance. 

FILM & TV

I got Netflix at the start of the year which caused me to binge watch every TV show I ever missed including Pretty Little Liars which I managed to quickly get up to date and watch the last season as it came out. I don't think I'm still comfortable with who A is but "A" well( that was a poor pun, I know). I was very much obsessed with the Louis Theroux documentories on Netflix as well especially the ones in American Prisons, I just find that stuff interesting.
Arrow has been insane this year and I've loved every episode. I'm a little behind on this recent series but I love Oliver Queen and, of course, Felicity!
I haven't watched many films in cinema this year but one I knew I'd have to see was The Scorch Trials. Comparing to the book, it's completely different but as a film I loved it! It was non stop action and do I need to say any more than "Dylan O'Brian"! Another film I loved this year was SPY with Jude Law and Melissa McCarthy-seriously funny!

MISCELLANEOUS

Other bits I've loved this year include a nail varnish: Essie Mastarpiece nail varnish has been on my nails every day for months. The Essie formula is great- quick drying and long lasting. Will be picking some more up in 2016 for sure. The Body Shop have killed it,for me this year, with constant 40% off. I've become obsessed with the Shea scent so it was only fitting I picked up the Shea Body Mist which I've also been using constantly for the past few months. Fashion wise, my Puma Suedes seen to have replaced my white converse and being great for every day wear to college(apart from when it chucks it down).

I could list off favourites for hours but I better stop now before it gets too much. I hope you liked this yearly round up of things I've loved this year? What are some of you random favourites from 2015?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

BEST OF BEAUTY '15

14 Dec 2015

It's that time of year again where I share with you my most loved, make up skincare and hair care products Usually, I would split these into to separate posts but this year I thought I would combine all beauty into one post and no-beauty into another. I've discovered some great products over the past year and so I'm exited to share them with you already even if I've raved about them numerous times before; this gives me one last chance to win your hearts over with a favourite of mine. I know I'm doing this quite early but I wanted to get it in before things get busy!

MAKE-UP


First of all, I think it's finally time I give my L'oreal True Match Foundation the credit it deserves. I've been using it for over a year now and has become my staple foundation when I want a full coverage base and my make up to stay in place all night long. I had a love-hate relationship to start with with this foundation but I really do love it now. 
This year, has been a year I've tried to hunt down the perfect primer and so I'm actually going to mention 3. The one I turned to at the start of the year was the L'oreal Magique Blur Primer which, I think, is a great dupe for the Benefit Porefessional as it smooths over my face and blurs out my pores so foundation doesn't sink in. As the year went on I started to embrace the dewy look and then I found the L'oreal Lumi Magique Primer which is perfect to give a little extra glow to my face without looking shiny as well as smoothing over my dry skin. The favourite, however, has to go to a product I actually got as a freebie in a magazine and that's the Elemis Pro Radiance Balm which is marketed at anti-ageing but for someone with dry skin it acts as a super primer. It's quite a sticky formula but I actually love that about it as I feel it holds my foundation on well. The sample size has lasted me well but I'm finally on rations so it's on my Christmas list because it's pretty pricey!
My Soap & Glory "One Heck Of A Blot" Powder has served me well. I reviewed this is in full quite a while ago but I thought I'd just mention again how much I love this powder. I powder first thing in the morning as my least step in my make-up and I rarely have re-powder. 
Most other aspects of my make up have stayed fairy similar but another product I've loved is the Maybelline Brow Satin Pencil. I've been through three throughout the second half of the year and, while they didn't last very long, they made it really easy to fill in my eyebrows first thing in the morning before college. The last mention is a make up brush and it's the Avon Angled Brush. This is a brush of many uses and was actually one of two I took to China with me. It's perfect for contour but then also for an all of bronze and powder. I also use it everyday for blush. The hairs are super soft and blend the powders so well. I adore this brush!

SKINCARE


My skincare has changed a lot during this year and it's hard to pin point certain products that I've continually used as I switch between cleansers trying to find one that does the job but two products that have remained constant through out the whole year is my two Garnier moisturisers: Garnier Moisture Soft and Moisture Nourish Moisturisers which I use day in and day out and always return to. Probably one of my favourite finds of the year and products I think I will continue repurchasing. Another product I picked up a while back and continue to love is The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Oil. This has replaced micellar water and wipes for me this year, being much easier to remove my make up and being just as effective. Apart from slight bottle leakages, this product is amazing leaving my skin silky soft all year round. A product I tried a while back and I'm now questioning why I didn't repurchase is the La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo+. This really did calm down my break outs and since using it, my breakouts aren't as severe and I think this played a big factor in that. I will have to repurchase this next year.

HAIRCARE


If you know me, haircare is at the bottom of my priorities including even giving it a regular brush but there's still a couple of products I've loved throughout the year- both from John Freda. The first is the Beach Blonde De-tangling Conditioner. For someone who doesn't brush her hair, this came in very handy and the smell is just gorgeous. Along, with being an amazing conditioner and leaving my hair silky soft, I've continuously repurchased this since summer and I absolutely love it. 
Now, I don't like including the same product in my yearly wrap ups but I will have to make an exception to the John Freda Frizz Ease Serum. This is a life saver when it comes to my hair It gives my hair that little extra tame it needs as well leaving my hair in great condition. 
I thought I'd mention here that it was just last week I bit the bullet and had a great chunk of hair cut and so hair care is much higher up my priorities now as I was to keep in good condition so prepare yourself for a hair care post in the new year!

That's all the beauty related products I've stuck by through out this past year and probably will continue to love in 2016. What are some of your favourite products of 2015? I'd love to know!
Non-beauty favourites to come soon!
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

WINTER

10 Dec 2015


After sharing my Autumn switch up, it seemed only fitting to hare with you some of my winter essentials as we head towards Christmas. Everything, goes from warm oranges to cool blues and more neutral colours. 

A lot of things stay the same as those in Autumn but little things such as nail varnish changes. I start to wear more cool and neutral shades but then I stick crack out the dark maroon and plums but one thing that I do introduce is a bit of shimmer as it reminds me a lot of the Christmas season and the Avon Stardust Nail Varnishes are great. I have the colour "Crystalised Pink". It's super shimmery and goes on amazingly. 

Things get colder and so dryer and so I use hand cream by the bucket load. My favourite this year are the body shop hand creams and the scent I seem to be obsessing over is Shea and so the Shea Hand Cream is a dream. 

I've done a separate post on my recommended Winter Reads but I usually read anything but try and make time for something with a Christmas/wintry feel just like Harry Potter. 

My Seasonal playlists are still going on Spotify with me regularly updating my WNTR 15 Playlist  including some of Justin Bieber's new album and some amazing Jack Garratt. For those wintry long journeys though, Ben Howard's "I Forget Where We Were" is the one.

As for fashion, you can't have enough jumpers and I've been loving this beige jumper from New Look. It's not the thickest but with a top underneath an for just £8 I'm very happy. I can't find the exact colour for mine but they have a similar here which I'm very tempted to buy now! New Look seem to be doing something right this year as, after finally realising it's time for a new pair of boots, I went to New Look and found a new pair super easily (can find here). I just wanted a simple black pair but the ones I decided on have a small buckle as well as having a handy zip down the side. They're slightly higher than my usually boots being a bit taller than ankle boots but still great and perfect for this weather. 

So here's a just a few of my winter essentials. What are some of your winter essentials?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

A GIFT GUIDE

7 Dec 2015

Every year I've toyed with the idea of doing a gift guide as I wasn't sure if it really 'fit' with my blog but after stumbling across some great presents for friends as well as some I've love myself, I thought I would share some of my favourite finds at a range of prices and hopefully you'll find something with in the catergories are chosen. I've tried to create a small guide for the different topics I cover on my blog so you might find something great to add to your own list as well.

The Traveller

Scratch Off Map / I Woot
Personalised Travel Journal / Not On The High Street
Urban Ears Headphones / Urban Outfitters
Nuxe Travel Kit / M & S
Personalised World Language Necklace / Not On The High Street

Beauty Fiends

Personalised Striped Make Up Bag / Not On The High Street
Zoella Vanity Case / Superdrug
Nars Steven Klein Blush Palette / ASOS
Benefit Life Of The Party Set / ASOS
Maybelline Nude Perfection Set / ASOS

Book Lovers

Book Worm Tote Bag / Not On The High Street
Quote Pocket Mirror / Not On The High Street
Once Upon a Time Bookmark / Not On The High Street
Wuthering Heights Mug / Literary Company

Gadget Guys

Phone Lens Set / Amazon
Water Speakers / Red5
Science Caffeine Mug / Red5
Smartphone Projecter / I Woot

There we go! It wasn't a massive gift guide but still full of some great present choices this year which I hope you liked and, maybe, gave you some inspiration for friends and family.
What are you getting people for Christmas this year? Anything interesting? I'd love to know!
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

MY SONGS

4 Dec 2015

I'm sure we've all uttered the words "OMG THIS MY JAAAM!" or something along those lines at least once in our life. Certain songs, I feel, become apart of me and whenever it comes on I have no control over the horrific singing that comes out of my mouth or sometimes the terrible dance moves that accompany. Songs act as keys to memories- a song comes on and you immediately transported to a place where you remember hearing that song or a memories it reminds you of. Songs I've listened to, some of them, I've added my own story on to them.

You Found Me // The Fray

I went through a bad time a few years back. I never exactly told you what was going. I was embarrassed I guess but then if you notice I was hinting- purposely dropping little clues for you to pick up. I knew you could see what was going on but it was like you were purposely weren't really looking. I always thought you'd be the one to help me and find my way back to my old self but I guess you weren't there in the way I hoped. You know I'm fine now, I know I'm fine now I just didn't realise I'd have to get through it without the support of the person I thought would be there. 

Saint Raymond // Movie In Mind

Some songs, like this one make me emotional and I know it's to do with the memory but, even with the mental cue of the song, I don't remember what it memory it really holds or maybe I do and I'm yet to come to terms with what it really does mean to me. 

Stitches // Shawn Mendes

So, I'm in my room it's midnight and I'm no where near tired. Everyone's asleep but I'm up and full of energy. I'm in the best mood I've been in a while and I'm on my own. What else is there to do but stick on a song, lip sync to a song and dance to a song? There's something that brings me joy when I do this. It's like I don't feel judged and I feel great alone.

How Deep Is Your Love // Calvin Harris

This song, to me, represents some great nights. Whenever it would come on everyone knew I would be first there singing along and trying to dance without a care in the world. It's the song that reminds me of all the great nights I've had with my friends.

Come On Eileen // Dexy's Midnight Runner

Every party this has to be on. What I feel as we stand in the circle together all singing every word in unison some with a slight slur to their words makes me feel so proud to call these people surrounding me, my friends. 

Music is something I can't go a day without and so they hold many memories; big or small and so there's even more stories with more songs in my mind.

Do you have a song that transports you to a certain place/time?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

WINTER READS

26 Nov 2015

Everyone turns to different books and genres during different times of the year and around winter and Christmas, if you're like me, I like my books to reflect the mood of the season or having an element that feels somewhat festive and relevant to the time of year and so I thought I'd share with you just a few of those books that may not be all out festive but have a more wintry feel to them.

Ketchup Clouds // Annabel Pitcher

I've mentioned this book in previous posts and it has been years since I've given this book a read but from what I can remember, some of the book is set around Christmas time and in a snowy setting so I guess that's a reason to recommend it to you this month! It's about a young girl who decides to start writing to a man on death row as she believes something she has done is just as bad as what her correspondant may have done. It's a story of guilt and love that takes an unexpected twist that I wouldn't say goes with the tone of the book but is still a shocker that, through out the book, you're trying to work out exactly what happened which is something I couldn't. I really love Annabel's work and Ketchup Clouds is the book I would recommend of hers to anyone.

If I Stay // Gayle Forman

Another book I've mentioned multiple times due to my love of the author. This is quite a sad book which I'm sure you know but, again, it's set over the winter/christmas period which is used to really set the tone of the book. It' a moving book filled with themes of family, first loves and loss and one that you won't be able to hold back the tears from. If you have yet to read any of Gayle Forman's books, I'd start with this one this winter.

Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone // J.K Rowling

Before, I go into this and you start to judge me, I am ashamed to admit that this is the first and only Harry Potter book I've read and actually finished. Having said that I do love this book and the introduction to the Wizarding world. Harry Potter is known and loved by millions and this book has such a festive feel throughout out with a chunk featured around Christmas time. This, I feel, is also an amazing gift for any young family and friends who are yet to discover Harry Potter. The films are always on around Christmas and so why not read the book to accompany it?

These are just three quick recommendations and as I'm writing this I know I've got a few more you might be interested in so part two maybe on its way!
Do you have any Winter reading recommendations?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

WHY I QUIT

23 Nov 2015

It was on Saturday, after only two and half months having my first job I decided to quit. Because in those two and half months I lost touch with a lot of things I love and instead of putting money first, I've decided to put myself in first place. 

The stress started.

After a few weeks of working there, I knew I was going to struggle managing a crucial year at college with a weekend job. The weekends are there to de stress and prepare for the next week and my job stopped that. I would be spending the whole of my Saturday at work with no time before or after to really take a minute to do anything other than sleep and eat and so in that time there was no time to relax.

What hobbies?

Little things that the weekends were made for such as reading became no existent. The part of my blog I love which is my book reviews have been no where to be seen because I haven't had chance to pick up a book and read enough to put together a post of reviews, Other things as well, I'm missing time with friends and doing things I love like shopping and DIYs. I want this time back before things start to get busy again around exams.

Let the blogging (re) begin!

This actually played a big role in my decision to leave my job because blogging is my passion and a place I like to focus a lot of my time and energy towards. Not even a handful of posts have made it onto my blog while I've been juggling work and college and, now, I want to focus on getting things back up and running. My last shift was on Saturday and by Sunday my mind was filled with new ideas which hasn't happened in ages. It's nearing Christmas now and this is the time of year that I love blogging and reading blogs and so is the perfect time for me to get back into the swing of things and get things rolling again and, I have to say, I can't wait to get started!

There are other reasons that I decided to leave the job to do with my role at work etc. but these are probably the most key reasons I decided to quit. I'm so excited to focus more on what I love!
How do you juggle your blog and work or blog and college?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

PROACTIV+: THE VERDICT

9 Nov 2015

It's been eight weeks and my Proactiv+ trial is up. I discuss the products in depth in an earlier post and now I'm here to report back on how I found the four blemish busting products. 

The products arrived just in time as I was starting to have a big breakout and so I couldn't wait to get cracking on using the products. The first week I spent getting use to the products and adjusting to being in a routine of, what I thought were, harsh products on my skin; I wasn't used to using a exfoliating cleanser two times a week and I was worried the moisturiser wasn't hydrating enough for my dry areas.

Picking up in week 3, this was when I started to notice small differences. My "monthly" breakout was less drastic and were more minimal than usual and I was fine with that! Those spots that did surface didn't stick around for long and weren't painful blighters either. 

Now, at the end of the 8 weeks, there hasn't been any miraculous change but it has calmed my blemishes down a lot and so I think I will continue using these products passed the eight weeks. My spots are still there but keeping a routine has shown me that's the best way to fight spots and that this product routine has really helped that. As well as the properties such as salicylic acid in all of the products, along with anti bacterial qualities, I know it will be good for those acne prone people. It has really helped me with redness and fight breakouts. It also didn't dry my skin out surprisingly and only once or twice did I break routine and switch to my usual moisturiser when I was having a dry period.

Out of the products, I really enjoyed using the facial cream. I found this to be a great little extra step and reminded me of the Effaclur Duo cream just a little runnier. The exfoliating cleanser did it's job well and exfoliated my skin perfectly. I didn't use the face mask as much as recommended but it was still a great little addition that continued to help my skin. I think I will be carrying on using these three products just not the moisturiser as, while it didn't cling to dry areas, I still prefer a little more hydration.

I will mention, that for sensitive skin this isn't the product for you and the same could be said for those who suffer from dehydrated skin. I do have dehydrated skin but it's manageable. If your's is fairly bad I'd steer clear but if you're looking for a blemish fix, this set is great and is, inexpensive for four full sized products that I still have lots left after the 8 weeks and know I will carry on using when my spots resume to an out of control state. 

If you're interested, you can read more and purchase the kit on the website here.

If you struggle with spots, I'd love to know what products you've found work great for you.
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah  x

*Products mentioned in this post were kindly sent to me but all opinions remain and always will be my own.*

FRIENDS BECOME STRANGERS

5 Nov 2015

I'm in my second year of college now; two years now since I left crowded, familiar hall ways of high school and entered into a new atmosphere. I've now adjusted. I've found a group of friends that I love and couldn't be happier to spend my time with laughing and telling stories that fill time we should spend working.

I'm starting to feel comfortable again and it makes me happy. I never thought I'd become comfortable in this new environment because I hate change and would rather spend my time stuck in the past than looking to the future and adapting to a new way.

When I left high school, I was full of hope that nothing would have to change and that, while we went our separate ways, we'd still make time for each other and relationships won't change and instead stay exactly the same because the the friendships made over those five years shouldn't be lost, right?

Things change and people change and, as much I don't like to acknowledge it, I change. I am not the person I was two years ago hiding in classrooms at lunch time with my head stuck in a book or getting ahead of work. I make time for my friends and make sure I enjoy my time at college.

Change has occurred and friendships that were 'supposed' to last forever haven't as friends become strangers; not even managing to hold a conversation when you see them out because everything's so different now. People change and people grow apart as we all head off in different directions. You merely become Facebook friends seeing every so often a holiday picture or two but never trying to keep the relationship alive and ongoing because you both know it's not going to work-it's too different.

In high school, you are more constrained and limited to the friends you can make and many, sadly, are just friends through circumstance and the realisation that you've wasted five years is a sad one but at least you can now move on and make friendships that are good for you.

Since leaving, I've discovered a whole group that I went to school with and said the odd hello to who have now become some of my closest friends and I'm so happy I have them. Some friends become strangers but some strangers become best friends. Not all friendships disappear with some even improving with the realisations that that friend always made you better.

Yes, I admit it, I hate that things of changed but I've finally accepted it and am happy with this new found love for change. It's time to let go of the past and start making my way forwards. 


Sarah x

FAVOURITE PLACES

2 Nov 2015

Everyone has a favourite place. I usually say mine's my bed, my bedroom. It's where I feel the most at peace and calm but outside of the confines of the four walls surrounding me, there is some beautiful places that I love to go to and so I thought I would share with you some of them today. 


Whitby

The cobbled roads accompanied from memories from my childhood makes this place an easy favourite. It's a place a visit almost annually and even though it never changes and I think that's why I like it; it's the same now as it was when I was seven. It's always the same but still always brings something different. It has this tourist buzz in the summer months and then a relaxing calmness in autumn. This is the sort of place I would love to live. 

Durham

I remember the first time I came here and I loved it. My mum and dad went to university hear and seeing where they made memories has made me want to do the same. Strolling along the river and going to the second hand book shops is a routine I wouldn't grow tired of. It's similar to Whitby in the sense it has a friendly atmosphere as you walk along the cobbled streets or walk round the abbey. The Architecture. The colours. I love it hear. 

 Formby Beach

Here in autumn is a beautiful as if you came in summer. The sand dunes and the swaying grass as the sun sets along the sea line is a sight I'd see any day. The calm atmosphere really makes you think and having a walk along the beach is so calm and a great place to be in the company of friends as you climb the dunes and go through the forests. 

These are just three of my favourite places and are more local to me that I love and wanted to share with you. What are some of your favourite places?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

SURVIVING COLLEGE

29 Oct 2015

As mentioned on numerous occasion, I am now into my second year at college and getting stuck into another year of hard work and lack of sleep but I think this year may be a little better than the last because I learnt a lot from my first year that will think will help me out this year as well as if you have just started college or are going to next year.

Organisation is key

Planning out times to get your work done and to revise will make your life a hell of a lot easier because you'll get into the habit of doing work at such and such a time instead of sitting there procrastinating. I'm not sure about all colleges, but we have free periods at ours and they are a blessing! Getting work done then is the best way to get everything out of the way and to keep your weekends free. Diary's and To-Do lists are the est way to keep track of work needed to be done and what you've done so your not wasting any time finding out what your homework was or if you actually had any because it's there written down. 

Get revision in early

Most schools and subjects give tests throughout the year and, unlike high school, I no longer walk in after just revising for five minutes before and revise properly before hand because it will help me in the long run. I also make myself textbooks where I write out the key notes from subjects so that when it comes to the end of year exam I just read through that maybe make a few posters and cue cards and I feel like I've remembered as much as I can. Revising throughout the year saves time when it comes to the last exam as you're not trying to cram 12 modules into a few weeks. If you want some revision tips, I've done some posts in the past and if you want more I'll be happy to write some more for you!

Plan & Prioritise

It links to the first point really but planning really will make the year go by a little quicker and a little easier. Do what needs to be done first before you do something that maybe a bit more fun but isn't due in till two weeks later. If you need to stay in an extra hour to get your chemistry done do it now instead of having to squeeze it in later just so you can see friends an hour early. Having said that...

Make the most of the year

A lot can happen in college years so don't miss out on spending time with friends. I regretted missing out on day trips and parties to stay at home doing work or sometimes nothing. Make the most of your free time and make your weekends packed full of fun because soon you'll probably be heading off in your separate ways and you don't want to be left wishing you'd done more with them.

This is just a few bits of advice I'd give myself and anyone starting their first year at college and so I hope they help.
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

AUTUMN

23 Oct 2015


Like many others, Autumn is my favourite time of the year. The colours and the crunch of the leaves as well as the different of scents that accompany the season I can't help but love. Every autumn, the same products make an appearance and so I thought I'd share them with you today as well as a few new additions. 

A good autumn book is always good and so I thought I'd mention one I've been enjoying recently and that's Extroardinary Means by Robyn Schneider. A book centred around Latham House; a boarding school for sick kids as it follows the story of two of the teens in particular and their story at Latham. I promise there will be a review soon but right now, take my word for it, it's a book you must check out this Autumn.

You can't have a good Autumn book without a good playlist. I have my ATMN 15 playlist currently on my spotify if you'd like to follow me there. It's just song I've come across this season. If you're wanting songs that, I guess, reflect the month more my 8Tracks playlist "Float Down" is a good one to check out.

Autumn's the time where I can finally crack out my candles again and one I loved last year and I'm going to carry on using this year is the Yankee Candle Honey & Spice. Like the name suggests it is rich with spices but the smell it lets off isn't over powering but nicely subtle and one I love. 

I get chapped lips all year round but autumn/winter is the peak of the dryness and so I always find Carmex to do the trick. Making sure, I have it to hand out and about, it's great when my lips begin to dry a little. It's time for dark colours to make an appearance again and the Collection Lip Butter in Perfect Plum is such a great, wearable purple that adds some extra moisture which is great great for me.

I always like matching bold dark nails to match my bold dark lips in Autumn but I've been loving this Essie Nail Varnish in Master Plan which is a great every day beige/grey that is so quick to apply and dry and the colour is lovely. 

The weather's getting colder and it's time to wrap up warm and I found the best place for coats and scarves is Zara. Last Christmas my sister bought me this huge scarf from Zara which could act as a blanket it's so big but it's also so cosey and warm. I don't think they have this back in stock this year but they have some similar ones again in Zara and also New Look that I've seen. Zara also have some great coats and that's where I picked up my Zara Traffaglur Parka Coat. which has a great hood with some parts lined with the softest fur that I do, somtimes, find myself stroking like a cat! It's super warm and goes great with the scarf. 

Hopefully this is the first post of me getting back in to the swing of things and, again, sorry for going AWOL.
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

STUCK IN A RUT

14 Oct 2015

I'm sorry. My blog has been lacking and I am sorry. I've bee stuck in a bit of a rut with college and work and not actually blogging. Honestly, it's been the last thing I've been thinking about and I know that's bad because I don't want it to be like that.

I'm a big planner as I've discussed before but I am also a big procrastinator and instead of using blogging to procrastinate from work. I'm using work to procrastinate from blogging. Ideas dry up and I'm still waiting to have a waterfall of new ideas fill my head as well as finding the time to sit down and get something worth reading written and posted.

That's all I want to say; that I'm sorry I've not been very active and that while I aim on being back in the next week or so please don't hold me to that. I have a few things to sort out and then hopefully everything will be sorted and I'll be able to get back to my good old weekly posting self.

Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

BOOK HAUL

5 Oct 2015

It's been too long for my liking. Not just with blogging but with reading as well. Everything has been put on the back burner as I've been adjusting to A Level life which is a lot harder that I first anticipated. I've disappointed myself with the lack of blogging and reading I've been doing and so to hopefully spark a reading marathon, I bought a small mountain of books that I thought I'd share with you to get me back in the swing of things.

There have been a few books I've been eyeing up on Amazon for a while that all seem like my kind of easy-rad contemporary to refuel my book love starting with Just One Day by Gayle Forman. It's been a while since I've read a Gayle Forman book and, seeing as though I loved every book I've read of hers, I thought this was a safe bet. It's about about a day in Paris and so obviously a love story is involved and so a book I can't wait t read.

Way To Live Forever by Sally Nicholls was a book I read when I was 12 and I remember it being one of those books that opened me up into the world of reading that wasn't all joy and puppies? I remember this being one of the first books I balled my eyes out to and, after realising I'd lost it, I thought I'd best repurchase and reread it as well.

After seeing Cait from PaperFury review Extraordinary Means by Roybn Schneider and being an author I've wanted to check out for a while, I picked this up and I have actually already read this and I loved it! It's centred around a boarding school for sick teens and Lane who's being sent there to be treated. It's about his time there, making friends and falling in love.

Tape by Steve Camden is one I know I'm going to enjoy with the synopsis sounding like something I'd love and also having a slightly similarly idea to what I wanted in my very own book. It follows two story lines of Ameliah is 2013 and Ryan in 1993. Ryan records his feelings on tapes and when Ameliah finds them, she really connects to them.

The last book I ordered from Amazon was The Martian by Andy Weir. I've been wanting to buy this book for months even before the film was announced to release. It's been a while since then and the movie is now out and yet I've still not read the book so what better time than now to read it so I can experience the book as well as experience the gorgeous Matt Damon on the film screen.

Annabel Pitcher is an author I loved back in high school and always wished she'd bring out new books and so when The Book People had her newly released hardback, Silence is Goldfish, for just £4, I got very excited and had to pick it up quickly. Her synopsis are always quite mysterious and this one is now different so I'm excited to find out what this book really is about. 

The last back I was sent and the story line really interested me: Zeroes by Scott Westfield and others. Scott Westfield wrote the famous Uglies series which I sadly missed out in my childhood (but still might pick up) so reading this gives me a look into his writing style. The storyline feels so unique being about six former friends with extraordinary power. After Ethan aka Scam gets caught up in a bank robbery, the other Zeroes come to help. It's unlike anything read before and, so far, it's very action packed. I look forward to reporting back on this one.

Hopefully these books will encourage me to get reading again and make enough time for blogging again,
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

A TRUTHFUL PERSONAL STATEMENT

23 Sep 2015

Why am I applying? Well, really I don’t know what I want to do after college. I thought I wanted to go into teaching and that’s what I just tell people because it’s the easy way to explain it but that’s not really the aim. I want to experience life and that includes uni- a step to self-discovery and find the right path I want to follow in life.

Yeah, I'm obviously choosing courses that interest me and I'm passionate about but I'm not so sure they’ll take me. Don’t get me wrong I really want to go to uni and I work my socks to get the grades I do. I want the chance to learn in depth about my chosen topic.

They say not to say this but I'm going to and you obviously know but choose to ignore that you’re university isn't the only one I'm applying to so I'm trying to five an all-round view of myself. But the hard thing is I'm applying for different courses not just different universities.

One of the universities I found a course and fell in love with the idea; American Literature and Creative Writing. I could lie say I've read a lot of American classic literature but really it stretches as far as Salinger; a book that I along with many others can relate in some way just enjoy the teen angst aspects of Holden’s personality throughout the books that the adult population would just find annoying. I love to write even if I'm not the best. Right now, writing this- I'm enjoying myself. Writing for me is a relief- to get ideas into words and free from my mind so I'm not holding on to a small thought for months on end. I do English at college and while some books really are a drag, I do love analysing texts finding meanings locked behind words- I feel like I'm invading the writer’s personal space but I like it in a non-weird way. It’s like I'm inside their head somehow. Like I said, English and writing I love and so why wouldn't I want to pursue something I love after college?

When everyone wanted to be an astronaut or an ice cream I always wanted o be a therapist. I wanted to be the one there for someone when they needed to some to talk to. It might be because I didn't have that or because people always said I was a good listener- and they say work to your strengths right? I guess I just don’t like the idea of someone going through a terrible time alone. That’s why I took psychology, not for the research methods, but to learn how to treat people and how psychotherapy works.

While I'm not planning on pursuing it at university, I also currently do sociology. I’d definitely recommend it! It might help some of those narrow minded people out there broaden their horizons. I also think that politicians should have to take sociology as a requirement to become a pain in the arse politician because they’ll just be a politician and not blame to less well-off for their behaviour but maybe society for once. Sorry to get all Karl Marx on you, but it’s kind of true.

In an ideal world, I’d actually love to carry on all of this is one brilliant job I haven’t found the job right for that just yet. The closest I've found is educational psychologist. My old history recommended it when I suggest I became a high school English teacher. “It’s the positives of teaching without the negatives”. Yes, it may sound like I'm taking the cowards way out by not enduring the stress of teaching but she actually showed me that that’s my best option in life to teach every once in a while as well as act as a friendly ear to people who need it just like I once did.

So while I'm writing this like I'm going to send this as my real personal statement. I'm just going put somewhere else because if I truly wrote what I wanted to write to get into uni and show my actual personality and not just why I’d love to go to your fantastic establishment, I doubt I’d get in to my top choice.

But if this ever finds its way to you, I hope you enjoyed reading something not full of bullshit but rather the truth of why I want to go to university. 
The only good thing about this that I’m under the 4,000 character cou- oh wait. Oops.


Sarah x

SOME BLOGGING RESOURCES

17 Sep 2015

Over my years of blogging, I've come a cross some great websites that have made my blogging life a little easier, my posts a bit better and saved a lot of money by not having to buy expensive software like Photoshop. I've managed to compile a list of a few websites and apps that I thought you may be interested in checking out yourself that may help your blogging in some way. 


GRAPHICS

There's only one website I've come across that is brilliant in helping blog graphics and adding text to photos, as well as having different options to create different graphics and that's Canva- a website you've probably heard of but if not, I'd definitely check it out. I've used it a lot for adding fonts to photos etc. A lot of the aspects are free but there is options to buy photos and other features for around $1. I've never had to buy anything off there to create something I'm happy with but the option's there and it's not too expensive. 

PHOTO EDITING

This where the bulk of my website finds come from. I'll start by saying I do have Adobe Lightroom which isn't as fancy as Adobe Photoshop but has everything I need to edit photos. However, sometimes it can be a bit of a hassle so I prefer to use websites that quicker to load and do what I need. Pic Monkey is one you've probably heard of as well and I think it's great if you're just starting out with photo editing and photography on your blog as well as having some graphics options as well. However, a new found love is Pixlr which is basically a free, online Photoshop that has almost all the same features. I know my way around photoshop so I found using Pixlr fairly easy to use but I could see it being slightly more confusing if you're not use to it but a little xplore around the website and you can probably get use to it!

INSPIRATION

Pinterest is my main source of photography inspiration but I also love exploring Weheartit where I can also find inspiration. If you're starting out with blogging and don't have a way of taking photos, you could use photos off WeHeartit and as long as you add  the original source to your post, I don't think they'd be a problem and you'd have a great photo to go along with you blog post. 

APPS

I've spoken a lot about apps on my blog and I am planning on doing one dedicated to photography apps but for now I'll mention some well known photo editing apps that I love; Snapseed and VSCO. VSCO is amazing for filters and Snapseed is great fro tweaking my photos whether it's increasing the contrast or lowing the exposure.  There are a lot of helpful apps that, if you'd like, I can share with you soon!

So there are just a few resources that I use for my blogging and I would love to know if you know any great websites to help bloggers!
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

PROACTIV+

14 Sep 2015


I've gone through my fair share of blemish busting kits with some being great but others to be missed in my opinion. While some I've loved, they've never helped really fight my spots once and or all so when the chance arose for me to receive and trial the new Proactiv+ deluxe core kit* on a 8-10 week trial I was eager to give it ago.

Over the next 8 weeks, I'll be using the Proactive+ products and nothing else(apart from maybe a stronger moisturiser) to try and help battle my blemishes with a 3 part routine with a little added extra.


STEP 1: SKIN SMOOTHING DEFOLIATOR FACIAL CLEANSER

This is a usual spot fighting cleanser with small exfoliating beads that, from what I've used so far, aren't too vigorous which I'm happy about especially if I'm to use it twice a day: morning and night. It contains salicylic acid which is great for attacking those spots.

STEP 2: PORE TARGETING TREATMENT FACIAL CREAM

This is supposed to be the most effective product of the lot with a "smart target technology" which helps get into the pores to remove bacteria and oil. With spot fighting products, I'm always nervous about my skin getting dried out but this promises that, while removing access oil and also containing salicylic acid, it minimises dryness and irritation. 

STEP 3: COMPLEXION PERFECTING HYDRATOR FACIAL MOISTURISER

This last step is to hydrate and refine which is designed to help leave your skin smooth, even and bright. This also contains salicylic acid to keep pores clear and small. I will say now, that I usually need quite a rich moisturiser and so, while I will still apply this, I might have to use my own moisturiser as well but I really don't think that will effect my experience of the trial. 

SKIN PURIFYING FACIAL MASK 

This can be used as an all over face mask or to just target certain areas of the face and even a single spot and is designed to stop new spots from forming.


So there the products and I can't wait to get things under way because I have high hopes with the brand having such a big following as well as the products being paraben free and dermatologist tested for all skin types. You can buy the 3 system kit on the Proactive website for just £19.99 which I don't think is too bad for 3 products that contain great spot fighting ingredients. 

This is just the start of the 8 weeks and I'll be keeping it updated on twitter as well as having an overall review of the kit at the end of the 8 weeks where I will hopefully be reporting back with great results. 

Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

MORE PALE APPRECIATION

7 Sep 2015

Back last year, I wrote a post entitled "Too Pale for Beauty?" where I expressed I feel strongly that I shouldn't have splash out on high end foundations that may not be right for my skin just because they are able to expand their shade range further. That post was followed that followed by a "Pale Appreciation Post" where I shared with you some affordable products for us pale skin people. I've thought it was time for me to share some more affordable find for the paler people.

Rimmel Stay Match Foundation 

The shade range of Rimmel's foundation I've actually never found to be the best but I was pleasantly surprised when I found a shade perfect for my pale skin. It is quite pink toned as many brands presume fairer skinned people tend to be but it works for me. I've spoke in depth recently about this foundation in "The Foundations" post so if you're interested in learning a little more about that foundation and seeing if it would be great for your skin type I'd give that a quick look.

L'oreal Infallible Stay Fresh Foundation

I personally think L'oreal's shade ranges in most of their products especially their foundations are great and, while the range isn't as big as their True Match foundation, the re released Infallible range has a great offering for those who are even paler that the True Match offerings. I have Rose Ivory in True Match and Porcelain in the Infallible and I've found it to be even paler and suit my skin tone even better. As mentioned, many brands seem to presume the pale skinned have cool tones where as this range as more neutral/yellow undertones so is great if you fit into that category. I've only had this foundation a few weeks but I'm really enjoying using it and the shade is an added bonus to my new love of this foundation. The shade range isn't as wide as the True Match but it may expand in the future!

Rimmel Sun Shimmer Bronzer

This has been a summer staple and have mentioned it previously on my blog. This is probably supposed to be darker than it is but it's pigmentation isn't too strong and so I've found it works very well on my skin tone and also works great as a contour as it's not too orange. I also find it great for every day for a subtle bronze and to add a bit of extra colour. And, while the name would suggest shimmer, it's fairly matte so, again, great for contour.

L'oreal Glam Bronze

Are you starting to sense a brand pattern hear? This was my holy grail bronzer for about a year and I absolutely loved it! It was great if I wanted a stronger all over bronze and, while more on the orange side than the Rimmel bronzer, I felt it still worked with my fair skin and I still really enjoy using it. I do seem to favour the Rimmel one for a more subtle look, I still believe this a good bronzer and may work on some pale skin tones but not all. 


Garnier Moisturising Lotion Light Sun-kissed Look 

I mentioned in my Too Pale For Beauty post that I'm not OK with wearing fake tan just to match a certain foundation shade (and I stand by that) fake tan to wear to look a little more summer ready and, for me it can be a confidence boost. This Garnier moisturiser is great for my skin tone as it is for the lighter skin tones and so doesn't look extremely fake when applied and developed but does make you look sun-kissed and that you have naturally tanned and not like you bought the wrong shade of fake tan or had one too many coats of the spray tan. If you are a fake tan, tinted body lotion fan and you haven't checked this out, I would!

So here are just a few pale products in shops at the moment and from the products I've found, it's clear to see the brands best for the pale skin tones. It's sad, I feel, that these are the only products 
I've managed to find since the last post but fingers crossed, more products for fairer skin will be coming out soon and I'll be sure to share those with you when they do!

Do you have any good recommendations for paler skin? 
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x



SEPTEMBER TBR

6 Sep 2015

I've been lacking so much on the reading front over the past couple of months. A lot of the books I put on my "Summer Booket List", didn't interest me enough to read and I didn't want to really buy any new books so I've had a little bit of time off reading but this September I want to slowly get back into reading more each month and so I thought I'd share with you the books I plan on reading.

There is only three of them, two of which are for my English A level and that is Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett and King Lear by William Shakespeare. They are both plays we are going to be studying and are the types of books I will read if necessary but don't understand really what's going on but, thankfully I found the film and play on YouTube for the books and with them being plays the film and plays are almost word for word and so they were great as acting a a sort of audio book that I could read along with. I've started both plays already and am going to finish them today!

For the rest of the month, I'm not being too ambitious and I'm going to finally read the first in Percy Jackson series: Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief. Four of the books in the series were on Ebay for a ridiculously cheap price so I thought why not finally buy them and rad them. I'm aware they appear in the children's section at Waterstones but I love the films and think the series is very much like Harry Potter in the way it's aimed at such a wide audience. I am really looking forward to reading this and rewarding myself after my compulsory play reading. 

Hopefully, this TBR will give me a bit of encouragement to actually finish these books this month even though it is only small. But fingers crossed and hopefully I can read more in the following month!

What books do you plan on reading?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

ANOTHER YEAR

4 Sep 2015


The lazy days summer consisted of and after only being back in college, two days, I'm fully submerged it homework and reading already. I don't know whether I'm glad to be back but I'm definitely not angry. I mean, the quicker this year is over and done with the better but I doubt it will be easy with the amount of work needed to be done this year. 

I don't think I ever told you what I got in my AS results; 3 As and a C. I was over the moon with the As obviously but disappointment did come slightly with the C especially with it being in English- the subject that I needed for the course I want to pursue at University. I made the decision to carry on what I wanted and decided to drop photography and carry on English, Psychology and Sociology into A levels. 
I'm going to resit my English at the end of the year hoping that I can pull it out of the bag and get into the uni and course that I want to. 

I've realised that college won't last forever and the endless amount of hours spent with the friends around me won't last forever with us all having separate and very different plans for what we want to do after college that aren't just over the country but the world. This year, I want to make sure I make time for my friends and do what I can to plan everything well so I can fit in revision as well as a social life. 

I've still not got a job, Most of my friends now do and it's pushing me to get one even though this year is going to be a busy one. My sister think it might help me; having more structure and having to plan exactly when I need to revise around work and it can be a place to take a breather form the college stress and I agree. I think it'll be nice to get out in to a new environment and make a bit of money while I'm there.

It's another college year and I feel ready for the pressure and the stress of college this time around- I feel like I've had enough practice. Among uni open days, revision, writing personal statements and making decisions for my future,  I want to make the most of this year and come out of it happy and feeling like I had another great year at college.

Have you gone back to school or college yet?
Sarah x
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