RECENTLY READ #11

31 Jul 2015

I seem to be a constant reading slump recently and so reading isn't something I've done a lot of recently which isn't good but I have managed to finish another 3 books and so I thought I'd share these with you while I wait for my reading slump to come to an end!

Me and Earl and The Dying Girl // Jess Andrews // ★★✰✰✰

This book was extremely hyped from American readers after and after seeing a lot of videos on YouTube saying how funny and amazing this was I ordered it and eve got the hardback because I was sure it would be a favourite and, oh, was I wrong and, for me it didn't live up to all the positive reviews. Greg Gaines' mum asks him to befriend a girl who has cancer. Greg isn't a friends kind of person and the only one close to a friend is Earl who, together, the make mediocre films. Everyone spoke about how funny they found Greg and, the many described him, I thought he'd be the type of protagonist I would love and find hilarious but instead I found a boring voice for the book which is unlike me to find especially for a character with such a dry and, sometimes, controversial sense of humour. I also didn't really feel invested in the storyline as well as the characters- I think it was a bit all over the place and didn't seem to have any sort of message to the book. Jess Andrews actually wrote at the front that he isn't a writer and the book carries no meanings and, while I guess I can't say I'm annoyed that it didn't have an underlying message, I feel a book is really pointless is pointless if it doesn't work on many levels.  This book did contain something I loved when reading Finding Audrey and that was how film scripts were incorporated into the story but overall the story line did irritate. I did give this a 3/5 stars on good reads but after writing this I think I was being generous. Sadly, this really wasn't all that I expected it to be. 

How To be Bad* // Lockhart, Myracle & Mlynowski // ★★✰✰✰

Moving on to How To Be Bad next, things didn't seem to improve. I was in a semi reading slump at this point and felt this book would be able to pick up my reading spirits again being a fan of E.Lockhart's other work and so went into this with, again, high hopes. This book is centred around 3 girls; Vicks, Mel and Jesse. It is written in the perspectives of all three of the girls with each written by a different author. I'm usually really big on the different perspectives and that didn't change with this as I didn't mind having each girls input however I didn't think it added to my reading experience and didn't improve the fact that I really couldn't get into this book. It was a story of a road trip where they wanted to escape and find their true bad ass side but this really didn't work for me. They all wanted to be rebellious and, to me, they weren't. When people are bad ass, I like to sit their in shock at what they're doing or even cringe but I didn't at any point during their road trip and was a bit like "Is this it?". I also wasn't invested in the characters and found them all a little annoying especially Vicks and I felt her situation with her boyfriend was a little unrealistic. I felt  the storyline included some unnecessary parts and sometimes missed the chance to elaborate on the important parts. On thing I did, however, like about the book was that it, while included a little romance, was mainly centred around friendship and how friends have their troubles and differences but they work through them. This really wasn't a book for me and not one I will recommend in a hurry especially as someone's first E.Lockhart book but if you're into road trip books maybe look into the story a bit more!

Where Things Come Back // John Corey Whaley  // ★★★★★

After a disappointing start I thought it was about time I re read the book that I always refer to as my favourite. While being my favourite, it's been a while since I've re read it as I didn't want my opinion to dramatically change the next time I read it and it not have the same impact on me. I'm not go into too much detail as I'm planning a whole post based around this book but I will say re reading this again did not make my opinion differ and I actually felt more engaged with the story as a whole. There are two stories included in this book that intertwine together due to unexpected circumstances with one being about Cullen Witter who's a senior in high school and hates living in the town of Lily. In the summer a supposed distinct woodpecker reappears while his brother disappears. The other story starts with a missionary in Africa who doesn't feel he's doing God's work as he's supposed to. I usually focus on Cullen's narrative rather than the accompanying story but this time I found myself emerged in the religion behind the missionary's story and I found I really go more out of this book the second time round and I feel this really helped me rise out of my reading slump! This is quite a vague review but a full one is to come very soon!

Just three books this time. Have you read or plan to read any mentioned? I'd love to know your opinions!
Sarah x

STUCK IN THE PAST

27 Jul 2015


read change (kind of a part 1) here. 
I have this box that lives in my room. I bought it years ago when I wanted something to keep some personal keepsakes in. I wanted to store little parts of my past into the trunk enabling me to access and reminisce whenever I want. 

At the end of high school people brought in blank notebooks where friends would write nice messages to each other about missing each other and filled with promises of staying in contact because "you are too good of a friend to lose". I didn't want mine to be a book because I think it would sadden me to see the half empty pages that were reserved for those I hoped to have written just a sentence. Instead, I gave certain people an envelope and some paper which they could fill or just write a sentence on. I also asked them to personalize them in someway so I could remember exactly whose is whose and just make each one different. A lot I sent out never came back but I didn't care about most because the ones I got I cherish.

These letters were later added to the box where I could go back to them when I wanted to smile and feel nostalgic but that's not been the case.

I open the trunk and see the letters which I still stupidly read and, instead of being filled with happiness, I'm filled with regret. Disappointment. Loneliness. The letters are filled with false promises that I still try and excuse because I liked things how they were and because I hate change; I hate the idea that I'm not going to see the majority of these people again and their friendships will just have to be preserved a memory.
In some ways, life was easier when I was surrounded by these fake friendship because everything was more simple; easier. 

The irrational thing is that I still reread them because I wish things would go back to that time where it was easier. I'm stuck in the past and I don't know how to be freed to experience the future's potential. Nostalgia is where I seek comfort in the past and where I stay for a large percentage of my life. 

I hate to love being stuck in the past- it's unhealthy for me to be doing this. I need to get closure. I don't know how this is done but it will have to be. I really should just get rid of them even they are filled with memories of school trips, fun nights as well as containing fragments of late night conversations. 

But I can't do that- I can't rip the letters up, burn them, shred them. I can't bring myself to do that.  Not Right Now. Right now I don't have the will power to part from the letters or part from the past. 

But one day I will. One day those letters will mean shit all and I will throw them in the bin like a piece of junk mail. That will be a day that I will no longer be stuck in the past and I will be ready to look firmly to the future. 

Sarah.x

FRIENDLY ADVICE: WRITING

23 Jul 2015


This was an idea I had last year and it sadly didn't work out back then but I've decided to restart it after receiving a tumblr message and I thought asking other friends and bloggers would be a great and more beneficial to answering this seeing as I don't think I'm in a position to give advice on this topic and I think it might even help myself, if not including some of you, to here some advice from bloggers and writers themselves who have more advice on the topic of the question: starting out with writing.

Blogger Cait  // Blog 

If I could only say one thing to newbie writers it'd be: FINISH YOUR BOOK. But lucky me, I get to say a bit more. (YAY!) Truly though! I think finishing something is crucial to your growth as a writer. I never really took myself seriously as a writer until I could whisper "I finished my book". And as sucky as your first book is, it can only get better from here. Trust me. You can't edit nothing! Once you've got the bones of your first book, the possibilities are literally endless. 
My second biggest tip is: GO READ BOOKS. Read in your genre! Read the kind of books you want to write! They not only teach you how to write better, but you can familiarise yourself with what's been done and what sells and what fails. And when you read, pay attention to how the author writes those action scenes and how they make the dialogue flow and how they pepper description through the book instead of in clumps. Read a lot. It'll help. 
And I'll leave you with a few websites you should totally swallow. Go Teen Writers has an archive full of golden advice on EVERY aspect of writing. Pub(lishing) Crawl has all the industry information. Miss Snark's First Victim is excellent for query/agent advice. HAVE FUN WRITING, PEOPLES!

Blogger  Amy  // Blog // Twitter

It’s difficult to choose one piece of advice to give to new writers, as there are so many things that come to mind: write as much as you can, don’t wait until you feel inspired, read often. But I think it’s also worth pointing out that it can take a long time and a lot of practice before your writing becomes really good, or strong enough to be published. It can be disheartening to feel like your work isn’t good enough, especially when you’re tempted to compare yourself to other more established writers. But self-doubt is something everyone goes through – you’re not alone. And the more you write, the more you learn from each piece of work. If you keep writing, you will improve. Don’t give up.

Poet Meggie // Tumblr // Facebook // Lit' Magazine

If you’re interested in starting to write poetry but have no idea where to begin, reading poetry by some of your favorite authors can be a great tipping point. Even watching YouTube videos of slam poets performing can help give you a better idea of the many dozens of writing styles in the world, and whether you’re more inclined to write page poems or slam poems, or a mix of the two, or even something else entirely. Take notes, mental ones too, about key phrases and words and inflections you admire in the poems you read and listen to. Then try combining several of them in your own poem and you might find that you create something beautiful. Also, relish your worst poems, because it only goes up from there.

So there are some different answers to the question and I hope that may have helped someone or at least the person who asked the question. If you have any questions you'd like others to answer and get some different opinions leave a comment or send me a message on tumblr anonymous a not. Also, if you'd like to contribute by giving some friendly advice or your opinion for other questions in the future then let me know!
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start writing?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

SCHEDULING VS. SPONTANEITY

21 Jul 2015

I've never considered myself a spontaneous person. I'm a big planner and I usually am not comfortable with plans that were made just a few hour before they are about to take place. I think that can be applied to my blog really- every Monday and Thursday I will have a post up at 9am in the morning that I've written, re drafted, taken photos to accompany and then schedule.

Since starting my summer holidays, for the first time ever I have posts I've written that I just want to write and press publish on; I want to be spontaneous for once. That may seem slightly stupid but that's just what I want to do with a few posts I've written and awaiting publication over the coming weeks. 

Pre-planning posts was a God send during college time because I could write at the weekend and have it ready for the week ahead and not have to have that worry on my head along with coursework etc. There's a myth in blogging that scheduled posts aren't as good as posts that have been written and published right away because the writer loses the passion for the subject. I disagree mostly. To me, if the writer is passionate then that will come across no matter if they spontaneously write and publish or schedule; the passion will still come across. 

However, the passion can be lost when you're scheduling and publishing posts for the sake of scheduling and publishing. I've come to the realisation that you shouldn't force yourself to write a certain amount of posts in a week because something that you love and enjoy becomes a chore. I've found that my worst posts are those over structured and over planned because, in my case, those posts do lose their passion.

I would much rather write a post when I want to that has the aspect of spontaneity to it and, for me, that's when I write best- just like now. I find my blog's at my best when I'm putting out content I'm passionate about and I can tell the difference as to when I am wanting to write about something compared to when I'm doing it for the sake of giving you something to read and so if I can see, you probably can too. 

I've come to the conclusion that my posts are best when I write when I want; whether that is once a week or three times a week- I know I'll be putting out content that I enjoy making and don't feel the pressure of because one thing that puts me off undergoing a task is pressure, usually put on by myself, but the pressure to do a monthly round up puts me off carrying on that feature and it's the same with other aspects of my blog. 

For me I find a happy median between scheduling and spontaneity. From now on I've decided that I will write when I want and if I feel like it's something I want to publish right then or tomorrow then I will or I will schedule it for the end of the week. After summer, I might end up going back to a schedule but I'm hoping my passion from the spontaneous writing carries on because I love it when I am passionate and spontaneous with my writing. 

I'd love to know your thoughts on this!
Sarah x

SUMMER ON A BUDGET

20 Jul 2015

So, I've come from China. It's Summer and I have no money. I'm sure a lot of people are in the same boat after spending up all their money on holiday essentials and clothes, there's no funds left for the rest of summer. I've spent the past week or so trying to come up with a plan for my summer where I can have a good, active summer with friends while spending as little money as possible and I thought I'd share these ideas with you. 

PICNIC IN THE PARK

You'll have a park near you somewhere! So get a group of friends together and plan your picnic. Split the tasks between you to help split costs as well; someone on sandwiches, someone on cakes etc. This way everyone is contributing something and everyone is spending less and you can all still end up with a feast. If the weather isn't the best or you dnt have a park near you, move it inside. Set your rugs on the floor and treat it just like your outside!

WHY PAY FOR THE CINEMA?

Yes, the price of the cinema these days is ridiculous and don't get me started on the price of a small popcorn! Set up a film in the living room whether it's a shared favourite or a netflix find, make some popcorn, get some chocolate and just enjoy. This way your saving a massive amount of money and you can make yourself as comfortable as possible by surrounding yourself with duvets and millions of cushions.

MAKE A FORT

Ask your friends to bring blankets, cushions and fairy lights round and get building! It puts a bit of a spin on the usual sleepover adds a little bit of fun to the night. You could even have your cinema night inside your fort!

JUST GET OUT AND WALK

Sometimes you just want to get out the house and get some fresh air. Leave your phone at home or bring it with you just for music so you can have some time to disconnect and be with yourself. If you like taking photos, take a camera or use your phone to take some pictures; there's always something to photograph!

COME DINE WITH ME BUDGET STYLE

A lot of these seem to revolve around food and here's another. You've probably seen come dine with me on TV so why not do it with your friends across a few weeks. You can take it in turns to cook for each other and have a few good nights out of it. To save money, you can set a budget for the meal as a whole so no one goes overboard.


CHECK FOR OFFERS

This isn't sponsored OK? It's just something that me and my mum always turn to before we go out anywhere. Tesco Club card have offers on all sorts of days out such as Alton Towers etc and so, if you have a Tesco Club card or something similar, definitely see what offers you can get with those before going out anywhere; you can usually save a lot of money!

So these are just a few ways to have a great summer with a budget. Have you got any other ideas?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

SHANGHAI

16 Jul 2015


 After leaving Hangzhou, we headed to our last stop and the one most of us were looking forward to; Shanghai. After an hour on the bullet train, we met up with our tour guide and headed to our hotel to drop our stuff off. We then headed into the centre of Shanghai to visit the Gardens there which were beautiful as well as in an odd position being in the middle of markets. Once we'd seen them we were giving a few hours of free time to go around the markets and pick up some more souvenirs for family. I was seriously running low on money at this point and the only thing I really wanted to buy ow was some tea.
A group of us headed to a tea house where we had a tea ceremony which was so much better than the one in Hangzhou as we were also able to try some different types of tea. The tea was still expensive so we headed off to have a look round on the hunt for tea as well as to do a bit of shopping. After the tea ceremony we only had two hours and they flew by and I still hadn't picked up any tea. Before we knew it we were going for our tea before heading to the acrobatic show that had been choreographed by the same man who did the Beijing Olympics. Sadly, you weren't allowed to take photos inside the show so you'll just have to take my word for it when I say it was AMAZING. I had goosebumps for the just under two hours and couldn't stop clapping as well as my face having a constant jaw drop in amazement. I sat next to Mel who by the end was getting very annoyed with me because I've my constant talking during the whole thing; that's just what I do when I'm so amazed! It finished at 9 and we headed straight back to the hotel for an early night because our last day was going to be a long one!


We woke up and, after breakfast, we headed to The Bund, which is a stretch of buildings by a river which is a famous financial district with sky high buildings. It's also where the second tallest building in the world is. We spent some time walking up and down the strip of land across the river from the tall buildings as well as getting some photos. We then headed to the Shanghai World Financial Centre Observatory which was just across the road from the shanghai tower which is the second tallest building in the world. We headed up in a lift that went extremely fast and made my head feel like it was going to explode. The view up there was definitely worth the weird head sensation as you could see for miles. 

After a few hours there we headed back to the bund and were able to do some last minute shopping. I'd accepted I was going to get any tea and Chris had given me a website to have a look at when I was back. Once we'd all met back up, I saw a lot of them had bags of tea and I was disappointed that I hadn't been able to get any but then Lauren, the amazing person she is, bought me some of the Gin Zing tea that I wanted! I was so happy that I got at least one pack of tea to go back with. It's funny how something as small as tea really rounded off the trip for me. We then headed to our final Chinese meal where we reflected a little on the trip. Over the last few days I was growing tired and was ready to go home but at that point I really didn't want to leave. I felt I'd become close to so many people that I probably wouldn't have met during college as a lot of us had never seen each other around college before.
After the meal we headed to our last activity which was the Huangpu river Cruise where we were able to see all the skyscrapers lit up and it was amazing to see! It was a fantastic end to a fantastic trip and I couldn't begin to believe that I had this amazing chance and I actually took it and really enjoyed it. After the cruise we headed straight the airport to catch our first flight to Abu Dhabi before a 4 hour lay over before finally landing back in Manchester. 

Again, I can't really put in to words how grateful I am for this experience because it's not a place everyone would usually go to or get the opportunity to go to. One day, I do hope to go back to Shanghai and explore a lot more as it was probably my favourite of the three places to see and explore and so one day I hope to go back and experience more of China. If you ever get the chance to go to China, don't write it off and please consider it because you won't regret it; the culture and the history of China is extremely fascinating and not a lot people our age know about.

This trip has just spurred me on even more to start planning my own travels after college. 
Do you have any trips planned for the future?
I hope you enjoyed these accounts and I hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

SUMMER 'BOOK'ET LIST

13 Jul 2015

While a lot of you may still be in school, my Summer is well underway and, when this is posted, I will be home from China probably already editing photos and blog post accounts of the trip to post in a week or so, so look out for those. I'm not taking any books with me while in China other than the Ebooks on my phone and so now I'm back and can crack on with getting stuck in to the books I'm wanting to read this summer. This is something I did last year and maybe the year before on my blog and so I thought I would keep up tradition by sharing my summer TBR, second chances and rereads.

THE TBR'S 

 I can predict now that these won't be the only books that I'll read this summer out of the ones I've bought and still need to receive because of course I'll end up buying more. However, as it stands now, these are the ones I plan on getting read and ticked of my TBR this summer starting with some books that just scream summer to me. I bought Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson a few months back and have been waiting for the sun to come out to get this book out to read. I've heard great things about this book and so I look forward to reading it. Another summer screaming book is how to be bad by E.Lockhart which I hauled here if you want to read more about the book. I received it from Hot Key Books and I've been putting off reading it, again, till it's sunny and I'm in the summer mood. I picked up Wuthering Heights the other week and I'm wanting to give that ago this summer in an attempt to read more classics. I bought Gone Girl months ago and was never in the right mood to give it ago so I think summer it's the right time to make a good start and a good go at reading it.

SECOND CHANCES

Giving books a second chance hasn't always worked for me but I'm trying and, again, summer is the best time, to sit down, focus and give it a good chance. There is just two; the first of which is The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I remember people talking about the film years ago and when I saw it on offer I picked it up. At that age, the writing seemed minuscule and felt like I needed a magnifying glass but now I think it actually looks like a quick read and the few chapters I tried to read weren't that bad either.I've just not given myself the chance to give it another go. We Are Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler seemed to be quite hyped prior to released and then many seemed unimpressed by the book and so was I the first time round-finding the pace to be extremely slow and making me move on to another book but I don't think it'll be too hard to get through and so I think I'll give it another chance.

THE RE READS

There a so many new books and so little time that I hardly get a chance to re read my favourite books but I'm making sure I make time this summer where I'm going to decide once and for all which is m favourite John Green book. I loved Looking For Alaska and have always referred to that as my favourite and even after reading Paper Towns I felt the same until I realised I can't remember a lot of what actually happens in the book and so I can't compare them while the story isn't fresh in my mind and so I'm going to read them both again and decide. Also with Paper Towns being released as a film soon and Looking For Alaska being made into a film, it's a great time to re read. Every summer, I whack out my favourite book and give it a re read; Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley, I'm talking about you. I also have never actually reviewed my favourite book even after promising I would and so I will be doing as soon as I've re read WTCB which I think has a great summery vibe to it. 


Are there any books you plan on reading this summer? Do you have a book you think everyone should read in the summer?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

HANGZHOU

11 Jul 2015



Hangzhou was our next stop and it was a contrast to busy Beijing with its peaceful scenery of lakes and rivers. After a 5 hour bullet train, we arrived and met up with our new tour guide Penny who took us straight to our first stop which was a tea garden where we were taught how the tea was made as well as being able to try some for ourselves. The tea was something I was really looking forward to trying and buying in China. This place, however, was very expensive so I held off until I could find somewhere cheaper. After the long train ride, that was the only thing we had time for on he first day and so after getting some tea, we ended the day. For tea we went to a Western style restaurant whose idea of pizza was cheese on bread with an assortment of fruits including banana. On the way back, we passed a park where people were dancing just like we'd seen in Beijing; we didn't get the chance to then and so we thought it was now or never and so we proceeded to join in and try and pick up the dance. Once it had finished, we wanted to teach them a routine so we decided the "Macarena" was a great dance to teach!








Day 2 in Hangzhou and it was a busy one. We headed to the West Lake where we a had a brief walk to take some picture before getting on a boat to take us around the lake and so we could get a great view of the surroundings. Boat rides lie this are probably one of y favourite, tourist type activity because you can usually see quite a lot while going round a lake. We then headed to another Buddhist Temple- the Lingyin Temple- which was very different to the one in Beijing with more outdoors to the temple including some amazing carvings of Budha in the side of a cave. We walked around the temple before heading the Six Harmonies Pagoda where we had a brief time here to walk around or walk up the tour. Mel and I decided to just walk around and after finding a cat with kittens proceeded to buy them some food and feed them. After a few hours, we headed to our hotel to get settled in before heading back to the West Lake where they have a water show. This was an incredible experience. It gave the illusion that people were walking on water and the whole performance was amazing. The way they'd turned the lake into an outdoor theatre was amazing; this was probably the best thing I saw in Hangzhou and was a great way to finish the brief time in Hangzhou off!

The next morning we headed to the station to get another bullet train. This time it was just an hour to our final stop Shanghai. I hope you're enjoying these recaps!
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

BEIJING

9 Jul 2015


And I'm home! After spending 10 very long days travelling to and from and the in between of having adventures in China I'm home and eager to share with you all that I experienced. I'v decided like last years travel posts, I am going split each post up by place starting with the longest of them all Beijing and then Hangzhou and Shanghai over the next week or so.

On 28th June we arrived in Beijing after a flight from Manchester to Abu Dhabi and a close shave getting the connecting flight to Beijing. There was no rest for the wicked as, as soon as we arrived, we met our tour guide Dave and headed out for the day very tired but still excited. After stopping for some lunch, we went to the Temple Of Heaven; our first experience of Chinese traditional buildings and as we walked to the Temple, we walked through some gardens where people had just set up a CD player and would start dancing and other's would just join in. Some were ballroom dancing and some doing aerobics. They weren't busking but just doing it for fun and relief; this really made me happy seeing this and made me excited for the rest of the weeks adventures.  We spent a couple of hours here looking round and coming to terms with the extent of the heat which I wasn't expecting. We all had grown extremely tired at this point so we headed to our hotel before going out to find something for tea and exploring the centre of Beijing and what it had to offer. It was very much like London with shops and restaurants around it including very busy roads will non stop traffic.
We were all shattered so we made sure we got to bed as soon as we could so we could be ready for the next day and we definitely were as we were all raring to go to The Great Wall Of China where we spent the day walking up the Juyingguan section of the wall. There were times when I was about to give up with my legs shaking and aching. This is where I was grateful for being in a group who pushed me to go a little bit further than I thought I would. While I didn't go as far as most, I felt I'd really accomplished something that day and it's something I don't think I'll be forgetting very quickly. With everyone's legs shaking uncontrollably, we went for  lunch at a local Chinese restaurant before going to a Jade shop where we learnt about making Jade and how to tell the real from the fake; this was one of many government owned stops we had to make because we were on a tour package holiday- these stops are compulsory to make while on this holiday in China. After that we had a relaxing afternoon in the hotel as well as having another chance to explore the hotel's surroundings.

Day 3 was the busiest day heading to Tian An Men Square which can be one of the busiest places in China. It's where Mao Zedong- former leader of the Chinese Communist Party- is embalmed and is one of, I think, 6 people in the world to be embalmed and on display. It's probably best to mention here that this tip was with my sociology course and from a sociological point of view it' very interesting to see people form all corners of China visiting this dead leader to present him with flowers and being moved by someone who the believe helped their country through a lot which was a really interesting experience. We spent a few hours in Tien A Man Square where we were stopped a lot by Chinese people wanting photos. Chris, our teacher, had warned us of this because many Chinese from the country side may have never seen a Westerner before. We had fun with it though and I didn't mind feeling like Kim K for a few hours! We then went to the Forbidden City which is where Mao lived and is, obviously, no longer forbidden which was great to hear more about China's history. After lunch we headed to 798 Art Zone which was an area where young, hip Chinese people had turned an abandoned factory into a place of modern art. We then went to see something that many were not looking forward to and that was the Beijing Peking Opera which is far from ordinary Opera; it included acrobatics as well as the "singing" was more whaling and screeching; however, it wasn't as bad as expected.


Day 4, our last full day in Beijing started with the Summer Palace which was a gorgeous place and we saw it on a gorgeous day as the sun was really shining. We were able to just stroll round the palace and take some photos and have some ice cream. After a few hours in the sun we headed to another Government shop with this one being for pearls. We learnt about the different pearls, how to tell the real from fake as well as the health benefits with pearls now being used for face creams. I did pick one up for my mum and me to give a go. After another Chine lunch, we headed to the Lama Buddhist Temple where Dave taught us a lot about the Buddhist religion and I loved looking round the temple and seeing a enormous Buddhist statue that to fit in a room had to be built around and still skimmed the roof. We all wanted to do some shopping so we were taken to some indoor markets where we could buy some presents as well as attempting to haggle. I was very bad to start off with, being ripped off straight away but by the end, I think I got the hand of a it and got some really good deals on presents. We got the China Subway back the hotel where we got an early night after packing up our stuff ready for the five hour bullet train to our next stop: Hangzhou. 

Beijng was an amazing experience and we all fell in love with our tour guide Dave who was just amazing. While Beijing was a tiring first stop, it didn't take away from the fantastic experience I had. 
It's good to be back blogging and I hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

CURRENTLY LOVING #9

2 Jul 2015


It's been a while since I've dedicated a post to my favourites. Mainly because I either have none at all or too many to include in one post but recently I've had a moderate number of things I've been liking so I thought I'd share them with you now!

Simple Spotless Triple Action Face Wash

This is a new release for Simple and one I was instantly attracted due to my skin's nature of being blemish prone but not loved by harsh blemish clearing treatments and as this is catered for just that- blemish prone but sensitive- and I've been really enjoying using it as it does exactly it says it does. I have had a breakout while using it but I don't think it's necessarily been due to this and it's actually helped calm the breakout down. This is definitely one to try if you have skin similar to mine.

Laroche Posay Effaclar Duo+

Sticking with skin care, Over the past few months this has been a continually used product that I bought after being fed up of having to see spots and scarring fill my face and, while I don't feel it's the miracle worker many feel it is, it has helped prevent break outs as well as creating a smoother base before applying my moisturiser. I'm running low so have been rationing and my blemishes are back so as soon as I have a little money, I'll have to repurchase!

Elf Baked Blush

This is a product a bought over a year ago and was too busy loving my Elf Candid Coral blush to really appreciate this but I've been recently reaching for this blush in the shade Peachy Cheeky to give a flush of shimmery pink to my cheeks and is subtle enough for me not to hate it; it's a great summery blush.

Nail Varnish

They aren't the most summery of colours and I probably should have found this duo back a few months ago but I've been loving it recently which is the Essie Master Plan Nail Varnish which is a grey/taupe colour that I think is a great staple colour to have and with the Avon Stardust Crystallised Pink Nail Varnish as an accent nail looks gorgeous! I actually found this duo when I was doing my mum's nails when she was going out and I was jealous of how nice they looked so had to copy her! The Avon nail varnish isn't like the usual slap dash glitter but is opaque and glittery enough in one coat! I think it would be a great Christmas nail colour but I seem to love it right now in the completely opposite time of year. 

All The Bright Places

I thought I would include the book I've loved the most recently which is All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. I've already done a full review in my RECENTLY READ #10 but I'll say here that if you want to ball your eyes out in gallons of water then this is the one for you. It was a slow start but, once into it, I really enjoyed it and the messages it brought with it. 

There's my current favourites. What have you been loving recently?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

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