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
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