ALONE VS LONELY

31 Aug 2015

 Let's start with some definitions.

ALONE (adjective & adverb)- having no one else present; one one's own

"She was alone that evening"

LONELY (adjective)- sad because one has no friends or company

"lonely old people whose families don't care for them" 


Connections can be made between both the words above but one thing I tend to disagre with is "alone" being a synonym for "lonely". You see, I like being alone. Sitting in my round surrounded by only the company of a good book or the sweet sound of my favourite bands. 

I find things easier when I'm alone- there a less complications when I'm on my own. I feel I can follow my own rules and approaches do different circumstances. I find joy in my own company a lot more than most; I mean, you can't trust anyone more than yourself-right? I'd rather work through problems alone and only have myself to blame for the outcome. 

Sometimes being surrounded by friends and people I love can be when I feel the most lonely pushing myself to be alone- in the comfort of myself. 

I like drinking alone and reading alone. I like riding the train alone then walking home alone. It's something about being in my own company that sets my mind free whether it's eating alone or watching a film alone. 
But then, when I see a mother playing hide and seek with her child in the park, a happy couple together hand in hand or overhearing two best friends laughing and gossiping I come to the realisation that while I like being alone, I don't fancy being lonely. 

I don't want to spend too much time alone because that can lead to opening gates of a lonely place I don't ever want to revisit. Sometimes being lonely isn't always the best thing and sometimes it might be good if I just let someone in.

I am a reserved person- no doubt about it- but that doesn't mean that every once in a while I don't need to be with a friend or even a stranger that, somehow, no loger makes me feel lonely. Sometime I need to left some of the weight off my shoulders and not be alone any more because I do't want to be lonely.

I like being alone but I don't want to be lonely. 

Sarah x

DOES MONEY MAKE US HAPPY?

29 Aug 2015

I'll say it. Money makes me happy. You're lying if your saying pay day doesn't bring you some joy or being given some spending money from a relative doesn't make you smile.
Money does seems to control our lives. No matter how much we deny it,money gives us happiness. I'm happy when I buy a book or receive some new clothes. Everything costs money and it seems happiness does to. We spend our lives learning skills to, eventually, go out and make our own money-that's what we all strive to do in life if we being negative realists; make money to live.

When we're in primary school we talk with friends about how we're going to grow up to be famous millionaires and live in a house with more bathrooms than people and have the fanciest car and the best clothes; that's how most of us as children thought happiness was and that our happiness could be bought. 

Everything comes from money so,yes, happiness can come from money. But to what extent? When does the happiness it brings you stop?

As I've grown up my money dreams have altered and now I'd just like to feel happy and secure with the money I have where I can afford to buy groceries for the week and not be in piles of debt. But that doesn't mean I have to be stinking rich to have a good, fulfilled life. I'm just as happy with getting £10 from my grandma for a birthday then any other sum and I guess gives a glimpse of how I feel about money on a bigger scale. Any amount of money can make you happy but, really, I feel the same amount of happiness from receiving £1 than I do £50.

Money can't buy the memories- the days you spend with friends laughing and joking making memories with out money- going on mini adventures or spending the day relaxing in a park. Yes, you might have bought a drink or sandwich while you're with them but out of the day what do you remember? I don't don't remember the sandwich that's for sure. 
Memories can't be bought and you can't put a price on the most cherished of them.

Any millionaire will face the same life struggles as an "average" paid person. Money can't prevent a family member from falling ill or for disaster to strike. Morbid I know but it's true. No amount of money can give you the power to stop something inevitable from happening. 

There's only so far money can get you before it's no longer the main source of happiness needed to keep you going in life. 

I think this a question that can be answered on a few different levels and I've only scratched the surface of my thoughts on this topic. 

The question was put forward to me by The Perfect World Project* which is a new TV show and social experiment where participants will be set challenges and the winner will win a Perfect World card loaded with a six figure sum before being given three months to live in their perfect world to see if money makes them happy. I love social experiments so the idea of this show really interests me! You can also apply to be apart of the show on their website!

The show are still in casting stages but if you're interested in finding out more here are a few links:


I'd really love to know your thoughts on this and whether money makes you happy? I think it could start a really good discussion!
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

*This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own and have o way been influenced by the company in question. 

SUMMER FAVOURITES

27 Aug 2015

I've discovered some great finds over the summer and as it draws to a close with me returning to college next week, I thought I'd share these finds with you!

GARNIER SUMMER BODY TINTED MOISTURISER

I haven't touched anything like this since my days in year 9 when I'd apply fake tan for PE lesson and evidently failing with only my knees and hands showing that I'd attempted to hide my paleness. Since then, I've very much embraced my paleness but after hearing some great things about this product and wanting to be a little sun kissed and look like I had actually stepped outside this summer I picked this up and I've loved it. It's a lot more subtle than fake tan and, being a lotion, it moisturises and doesn't leave streaks once you've rubbed it in. It also isn't an obvious colour change but just a subtle hint of colour and I really have enjoyed using this on occasion over summer and it wasn't that expensive!

RIMMEL SUN SHIMMER BRONZER

Keeping with the tanned theme, I picked this up before I went to China as my usual L'oreal one had broken and I didn't want to risk it getting even more damaged. While it does say shimmer, it definitely isn't and is pretty much matte. It doesn't give a lot of colour which, for me, is good being pale as I find it really works with my skin tone and isn't too warm or too orange. I have really enjoyed using this this summer and I think it will become a staple in my college make up once I go back.

LUSH MASK OF MAGNAMINTY

Lush is a shop I love to shop at but I hardly ever go because it's a shop that I'll go to if I have the money otherwise I steer well clear but while in London, I went to the new Oxford Street store. I know you're supposed to go there and pick up some exclusives but I was in need of a new mask and so many bloggers have been raving about this one and they have reason to! It didn't dry out my skin or break me out and did clear up my spots really well and almost overnight! For me, it is pricey compare to other great blemish masks but I'm so glad I picked it up because I love it!

ELEMIS PRO-RADIANCE ILLUMINATING FLASH BALM

This was a freebie I got in a magazine a few months before summer but I've been using it most during the past month or two. It does say it's Anti-ageing and I don't need to start with those treatments for a few years but this is an amazing base for foundation. It has a slightly sticky consistency which once you get over it, it's great! It smooths over my skin creating an great base for my foundation which means my foundation glides over my dry patches and doesn't cling. I've found it also prolongs my make up and doesn't look completely matte on the skin but, like it suggests, gives a radiant glow to the skin which I've grown to love! The small sample as lasted ages but once it's run out I'm considering picking up a full version even though it is anti-ageing. 

JOHN FREDA BEACH BLONDE DE TANGING CONDITIONER

Don't be fooled by the name, it's not a product aimed at blondes but all hair types and is supposed to be for after you've been to the beach or in the sea and it's all tangled but I've been using it just to help de tangling my like hair and it really does work! I apply it the ends of hair and run a brush through it while in the shower and then again when I'm out and it really helps brush through my easily knotted, thick hair. It leaves it feeling super heathy and smooth as well as have the bonus of smelling really nice!

PRETTY LITTLE LIARS

It's been the summer of answers and I've loved the waiting each week for a new episode to come onto Netflix. While, like many others, I'm in two minds about the ending, I have really enjoyed the show ad it's been so gripping! I can't wait for it to return next year! If you watched the finale, what did you think about the A reveal? Was it the right person?


So these are just a few things I've loved this summer! What have you loved this summer?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

"PEOPLE DREAMED. PEOPLE LEFT. AND THEY ALL CAME BACK"

24 Aug 2015

This is a long overdue appreciation post to my favourite book; Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley. Over the three years I've had my blog, I've lost count of the amount of times I've mentioned this book as being my favourite. I've also lost count of the amount of times I've promised to review this book in detail on my blog and it's time to trade in that promise finally! I guess I've been putting it off because, like many with their favourite book, I feel very protective over it and I'm scared I will hype it up and no one shares my opinion but I think it's time I share my opinions in depth an hopefully get you to give it a try!

If you don't know what this is about, it's set in the summer before Cullen Witter enters into his senior year at high school when his cousin overdoses, an extinct woodpecker supposedly re appears while his 15 year old brother, Gabriel disappears from Lily, Arkansas. Meanwhile a missionary in Africa tries to find out what God's mission for him is. As both stories continue, the two stories collide together.

The way the whole plot is put together is so clever and I think it's one of the biggest reasons I love this book. You have Cullen's story written in first person but sometimes speaking in third person when he daydreams about zombies above all other dreams. Then you've got the story of the missionary written in third person, starting in Africa but quickly moving on. When I first read the book, I was really only interested in Cullen's story but, after rereading it more time than I can count, I've become more drawn to the Missionary's story that covers religion- a view of religion I've never come across before and it really interested me. 

The way John Corey Whaley writes, the story lines and characters he creates are amazing and the way he can make me fall in love with Gabriel in just a few chapters before taking him away is impressive among other words. The underlying message of the book I love and how it's more than a story of angst teenage boy whose brother goes missing. It's a story of growing up, relationships with friends and family. The idea that everything comes back around; Lily, Arkansas is the town where things come back. 

There's something about this book that I just can't get enough of and after numerous re reads I still don't get sick of it. I am scared that one day I'll pick it and have fallen out of love with it, but so far, thankfully that hasn't happened and so I'm going to continue raving about this till everyone I know has given it a try. 

If you're still unsure of reading this, I'd say if you like John Green then it's definitely worth giving it a try because I don't think you'll regret it. There is so much more to this book then what it gives away on the surface and so many underlying themes that I can't cover in just this one post; I think that's one of the reasons I really love it and I hope you do too!

Have you read WTCB or are you going to? What's your favourite book?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

THE EXTENT OF PLANNING

20 Aug 2015


The Myers Briggs personality test can teach you a lot about yourself. It might be something you already might know about yourself but it can teach you a lot about yourself as well; character traits you may know you had but, actually, you failed to recognise them until someone comes along and points them out to you. Me? I'm INFJ- Introverted, iNtuitive, Feeling, Judging. There's so many aspects of this that was so me and were things that I didn't realise I was till it told me. One thing it didn't say in the description given of my labelled personality type but I realised myself just by answering the questions i that I have to have a plan. 

Whatever I'm doing a plan is needed; a clear, full plan otherwise I'm just a pain and don't want to go through with whatever it is we plan on doing no matter how small it is. What time? How we getting there? Who's coming? When? Where? An endless list of questions and asked and answered before I'm ready to go. 

If the plan wasn't complete and if just one of the questions remained unanswered I'd "freak out". I don't know why I just would. I would make up an excuse to get of the half thought through plans an not go. A lot of my friends actually know this about me now and understand. If you're one that didn't know well now you do and sorry for cancelling on you that one time- chances are this was the real reason. I'm not a controlling person at all- I don't want you to think that from this- I just like plans. 

I'm going into my last year of college after summer's over and this next year is going to be a hectic one. Exams, driving lessons, work experience, personal statements, uni applications and visits and thinking about the future and for me to get everything done, my answer is plan and that seems to be the best way.

Sometime planning is the answer but some things you can't plan.

As much I try and plan to achieve certain grades and to some extent what uni I go to, a lot of it is out my control and my planning will only get me so far before I have to leave it to run it's course. Fate plays a part in it as well. You can't plan fate. 

I didn't plan on going into my A level year wanting, at the end of it, to defer uni a year and become an au pair abroad being able to travel a country alone- a country I've always wanted to go to. I never planned to have these feelings but I do and now I plan to satisfy my feelings of wanderlust and wanting to give education a break. I don't want to miss this opportunity which over planning can sometimes lead to. I need to leave room for plans to differ. 

This whole planning malarkey is part of my personality and not something I drastically plan(ha) on changing and suddenly turning into Spontaneous Sarah but I'm accepting that not every detail needs to be planned to the last little detail- plan the basics and leave some to chance because so many say the best plans are the last minute plans. Maybe I should learn that's true.

Planning for the future is something we all do because the future is such a big part of your life especially at just 17 and so planning is expected  but plans can change and sometimes I have to let them because the outcome may be just as good as if not better than my original idea. Sometimes I've got to let my gut feeling take some control.

Sarah x

YES, I HAVE A BLOG

17 Aug 2015

This post may not be that interesting to most but to those who I know personally Hi. How are you? By my guesses it's been a long time since I've seen a lot of you and maybe your just being a little nosey but that's fine because if you had a public blog that you've started sharing on twitter since leaving high school I would be reading it too. 

I started this blog three years ago; a time when I felt I needed my own space to let things out and when a diary started to feel slightly juvenile and a place I could slightly edit my words to make them comprehensive and not just a jumble of words I'd wrote in an emotional state, I turned to blogging. At that point when I was 14, I didn't think I would ever share these posts with people I see everyday in fear of being judged and so I kept it to myself and I'm happy I did because it was just my little space that a few strangers read. 

Since leaving high school, I didn't feel I wanted to keep it a secret any more. I'd made friends through my blog and wanted to start posting links on twitter and speaking to people I knew through blogging openly without people thinking that it's just weird. 

It had been a few months since I'd started openly sharing my posts before someone turned to me and went "Sarah do you have a blog or something? I saw you link a post this morning" I replied simply "Yep" and they said "cool". They asked me a few questions about the whole thing- about what I post, how long for and "are you, like, Zoella?" and I answered and I could tell that she was actually interested and wasn't judging me. 

Just last week Jade and Jacob, two of my closest friends, stayed at mine and Jade mentioned something about my blog  and was asking me about it and I think it was then that I realised how many people close to me had read my blog and didn't actually care and weren't judgemental but actually thought it was a great thing I was doing and I'm so grateful for that. I just gave them one rule; don't read my posts back to me! 

I'll admit it, I'm not very open with my friends. I do keep myself to myself and I'd rather write things down than tell someone but maybe them reading my blog will help me be more open with them because there are posts written that I could never just tell my friends; writing seems to help me get my words out. 

So to people I know personally who are reading my blog- yes, I have a blog and have for 3 years. Some posts are personal and may indirectly reference you because that's where my inspiration may have come from but don't take offence. Feel free to carry on reading my blog or don't; either is fine with me. For those that stick around, I'm not changing what I write about and while I'm now aware that you know me personally and my posts may cover topics I've never spoken to you about before, I'm going to carry on writing how I usually write because all this is, really, is a diary; one that I choose to write and share online and so it will carry on being personal whether you're reading or not. A lot of my posts are based on experiences that I may have not been able to tell you about before- not because I'm James Bond or anything but because I've never had the opportunity or courage to tell you certain things. 

I hope you understand what I'm trying to say and I hope you enjoy my blog and feel free to go back and read every single post if your want.
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

INTRODUCING @ALT_BLOGGERS

13 Aug 2015

Over the past few months, me and some of my blogging friends Zoha, Beth, Emma and Lucy have been working to create a blogging network that offers something different to networks already found around twitter and blogging and I thought what better way to share with you the ins and outs than summing it all up in a blogpost.

OUR AIM.

As a blogging network, our aim is to unite bloggers together. To help bloggers find inspiration as well as find new blogs to read and spread the word of their blog. We wanted to offer a platform to those bloggers who may not fit a certain "niche" and offer an alternative approach to blogging that is seen as a minority such a book blogging or personal posts etc. We want to help such blogs grow their audiences and feel confident in their blogging style.

THE TEAM.

The master behind the plan was Zoha who came with me with the idea and it's something I've recently tried to express that there isn't a real network for people who offer something a little different to blogging to really promote their posts and find similar bloggers so I jumped at the chance to help start off the network. We knew we'd the help of some great, creative bloggers and so we called upon Lucy, Beth and Emma and all together we have created something that we can't wait to get started.

HOW WE HELP.

As mentioned, we want to help minority bloggers spread the word of their blog and by following us on twitter and mentioning us in blog links, we will be able to retweet your posts to our audience to help give you a little bit of exposure to people who may have never read your blog before.

FOLLOW US.

At this moment in time, our network is just on twitter: @alt_bloggers where you can follow us to keep updated with new bloggers and have the chance to be promoted by us sharing your posts with our followers. We are also following a lot of followers back at the moment!

THIS IS JUST THE START.

It's not even been a week since we launched the network and so we are still only small and over the next few weeks we are trying to get our network out there to attract bloggers who will think will really benefit from the network. Once we've grown an audience, we can really help you as a blogger promote your posts. We are also wanting to host twitter chats on topics that may not be discussed too much in the blogging community at the moment. In the long run, we want to be something a little more than your average twitter blogging network but it's just the begininning and we hope things will grow into something you can look to for blogging support in the future.

I hope this gives you a good introduction to the network and I hope you choose to join! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to leave them in the comments!
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

THE FOUNDATIONS

10 Aug 2015

When I first started out with make up, I was overwhelmed by the choice of foundations there were to offer and, still, today, I am so glad I discovered blogging to help navigate me to the best picks of the drug store. These days, I stick to what I know and have narrowed my collection down to just 3 foundations which I use depending on occasion. Yes, most only need one and I could probably do the same but I like having an option and the chance to regularly switch up my make up. My choices will probably come as no shock as I mention them time and time again but I thought they deserved their own post of recognition.

The Night Owl: L'oreal True Match

The True Match foundation is the one I use when I want a full coverage base which is perfect for a party or a late night out with friends. I always save full coverage foundations for special occasions, when I want to put that little bit more effort into looking good and this foundation is perfect! I was this on my prom last year and it lasted all night so it really does stand the test of time for me as well as looking great in photos with fairly any flash back as long as everything's powdered nicely. I always feel my skin looks best with this foundation an with a good cleanse, moisturise and prime, it doesn't look cakey or cling to any dry patches. 

The Summer / Good Skin Day: The Body Shop BB Cream 

From full coverage to extremely light coverage. This is my favourite base product to use when I'm just feeling lazy and my skin's good enough to be lazy when I want to just throw some make up on before going to the shops or for a quick walk. I also think it's a great holiday pick and is why I'v used it on holiday for the past two years; I can never really be bothered on holiday to have to deal with make up that continually get oily and need a powder or to be maintained throughout the day. This is such a quick base to apply and no touch ups needed for me- not even powder. It just adds a bit of colour into your face this BB Cream and, with some concealing, I think this is a great base especially for those who don't have many skin problems. 

The Everyday Pick: Rimmel Match Perfection

Last college year, this became my everyday staple and things will probably be the same next year as it's so easy to apply and I only have to moisturise and prime in the morning for this not to cling to any dry areas saving me time first thing in the morning from skipping cleansing. It isn't as full coverage as the L'oreal foundation but I think it's the perfect coverage just for going out and about as well as school and college. I think this a great foundation also for those with dry skin as it's a very runny formula and even I have to powder during the day to keep shine at bay but I don't mind because it's only college!

These are the three foundations I alternate between and I think I'll be repurchasing all three for a while! What foundations do you love? Do you have an all rounder or do you alternate? 
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

TRAVEL: APPS

7 Aug 2015

Finding apps to make my life a little easier in anyway are those that I love and when it comes to travelling, things can be stressful and I'v found some apps that relieve this stress just a little bit as well as jut being useful for my time away. 

COMMUNICATION

When you're abroad, contacting home or even others in the same country as you can be expensive and there's no point faffing around with international or new contracts with your network when there are apps already to use. Viber is a great one for phone calls; as long as each part as the app you can make phone calls across see for free you just need a wifi connection. WeChat is similar except can be used for texting and contacting others. Lastly is Whatsapp; this lets you text and call anyone who, again, has the app. The calling isn't as good as Viber but it still works if you want to have everything ready in one app! They all require you to have a good wifi signal which I'll get onto later on in the post.

PACKING

I, along with many, love a good list. Each week running up to my China trip I would rewrite a list of stuff I still needed to do until I found Triplist. This app is great to plan your packing giving you the options to add items of clothing, documents as well as stuff needed to be sorted before the trip such as getting a visa. It adds them all to a list where you're able to tick off when it's sorted or packed as well as giving you a percentage of how much you've left to add. Another good list making app is Wunderlist. This app gives you more freedom of the items you'd like to add to the list if that's something you'd prefer and also makes a satisfying "ding" when you tick something off your list. 

LEARN THE LINGO

I really do think that, if you're going to a country that speak another language, you should at least try to learn a bit of the language. In the Long term Duolingo is a great app to learn a range of languages and mainly focuses on the main languages you are likely to learn such as French, German and Spanish etc. As for the short term just by looking up Chinese into the app store before my China trip I found and app called Learn Chinese- Mandarin Phrase Book which included some really great and useful phrases for all aspects of travelling. If you type in "Codegent" into the apple app store, the same person has create many of these phrase books for different languages such as French, Italian, German including languages that you wouldn't find on Duolingo such as Japanese.By selecting an English phrase, played it in Chinese which you could then repeat or if you would rather just play it to the person you're wanting to speak to; I'd suggest giving it a go- it's all part of the fun!

VPN

If you're in a hotel where the wifi isn't the best or are in a country that has certain restrictions on sites, VPN apps are great as what they do is connect you to a better wifi connection nearby or faraway. For all round better wifi connection Betternet is a simple app to use and can also help out on those restrictions as well. Tunnelbear is the one to use for restrictions as you can manually select where you'd like your wifi to connect from by choosing a country. This way you can access any apps for social media where the websites have been blocked with ease. Betternet gives you unlimited free VPN and Tunnelbear gives you 500MB free a month but,if you'd like, you can buy more. 


These are just a few apps that I found really handy when travelling through China and hopefully they'll help any of you still waiting to go on holiday this summer or in the future!
Have you got any useful apps for travelling?
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

WHAT CHINA TAUGHT ME

4 Aug 2015


1. You CAN survive on just hand luggage for 10 days. It might involve a lot of washing in sinks but it is possible and there is usually washing services at the hotels as well which is also useful if your feeling lazy!

2. Haggling is a must. Chris, our teacher, taught us the "walk off technique"; you give a low price and if they're not willing to budge anything near that walk off- they will call you back because they will always making a big profit. If they don't call you back? Yeah your price was crazy low.

3. Be prepared to be ripped off. You're not a haggling master straight away and it took me a few goes before I'd got into the swing of things and hadn't been ripped off through paying too much or getting something that's a fake. Being ripped off is part of the fun really!

4. Thank God you took all those pills and plasters. We did a lot of walking and so blisters were bound to happen and, when packing, I thought I took a ridiculous amount of plasters and blister plasters but I hardly had any left by the end of the ten days. You also never know when something might not agree with your stomach and you'll need that immodium or rehydration powder when you've not drunk enough. I was lucky enough not to be ill once during the trip but I know a lot of people were glad to have a big stache. 

4. China is warm. Don't let the smog fool you, I was boiling from the humid weather and it was actually at it's coolest when there was a clear day and you could actually see the blue sky behind the smog. I was definitely glad I took loose, summer clothes!

6. There idea of Western isn't exactly Western. They seem to think all we do is eat MacDonald's and KFC and so when you want a break from the Chinese food, that's really the only other option. They do pizza's and others but not as you expect. One night there was pizza that was just cheese no tomato with mango, pineapple, cherries and banana on; I wouldn't recommend at all. 

7. As for the Chinese culture, some parts you'll understand and enjoy where as others you'll find a little crazy. I loved learning about the Buddhist religion and going to the temples and seeing the magnificent buildings and then, while I could understand why they thought their leader Mao was a great guy, I also didn't understand why they loved him so much and went to visit his embalmed body. 

8. The days are long, you're tired, you're bond to snap. There were times when we all had a short temper and anything would get us annoyed and the whole experience was tiring but that's part of it- having long jam packed days to get the most out of the experience. 

9. It's not always about documenting but experiencing. I took my camera with me because all I wanted to do was snap thousands of pictures and have some great photos to share on my blog, instagram and to family. When I realised how little I'd thought I'd taken I was a little disappointed but then I remembered that just because there's no photographic evidence, doesn't mean it didn't happen. When we went to the acrobatic show in Beijing, you couldn't take any pictures in the show and I was a little disappointed I couldn't take any photos of the amazing show but I still remember it and it doesn't change that it was my favourite part of the trip.

10. China is an underrated destination. While there were a lot of non-Chinese people there exploring like us, it's not a place many people have on their bucket lists to go and visit and I think it should be. The whole culture is so interesting and the people are so welcoming and friendly. If you ever get the chance, go.

11. I want to travel. To do this I need to start saving. Get a job and plan my next adventure and this time I'll plan it myself. But where should I go?

Where do you think I should go next? 
Hope you're doing great,
Sarah x

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