I have a few PS Nail Polishes but haven't used them a lot. They are usually good though for picking up on trend colours and when I saw Burnt Orange I had to have it! Yes, it's more of an autumn colour, the reason it drew my attention is because it reminded me of Essie's Playing Koi, as well as giving me the same kind of vibes as Essence's Colour of the Year My Love Diary. While I haven't got my hands on Playing Koi to compare them, I don't think they're going to be a dupe, but close enough.
Saturday, December 31, 2016
I have a few PS Nail Polishes but haven't used them a lot. They are usually good though for picking up on trend colours and when I saw Burnt Orange I had to have it! Yes, it's more of an autumn colour, the reason it drew my attention is because it reminded me of Essie's Playing Koi, as well as giving me the same kind of vibes as Essence's Colour of the Year My Love Diary. While I haven't got my hands on Playing Koi to compare them, I don't think they're going to be a dupe, but close enough.
Thursday, December 29, 2016
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Barry M do great nail polishes and they often do exclusive shades for Superdrug and Boots. For Autumn/Winter this year they have two shades in Boots and there’s four in Superdrug. Two of the shades are on the shelf and the other two are free gifts when you spend a certain amount on Barry M products. So naturally I bought the first two shades so I could get the other two!
From left to right: Nutcracker, Twinkle Twinkle, Gingerbread and Icicle
Nutcracker and Twinkle Twinkle are the two shades I bought to get the free gift Gingerbread and Icicle.
Nutcracker is a very bright magenta foil nail polish. Truth be told, when I first saw this shade online I wasn’t overly gone on it. But when I saw it in the shop I decided to give it a go. And I’m glad I did! It’s beautiful and can be applied in one coat.
Twinkle Twinkle is a soft rose gold foil. This one also applied really well and it’s a great metallic to have in your nail polish collection.
Gingerbread is a warm bronzey brown foil polish. I don’t like brown shades usually but this one is beautiful! I think the fact that it’s a metallic foil that makes me like it so much. It did need 2 or 3 coats though, it was a bit patchier than the ones above.
Icicle is a glitter topper, full of glitter pieces and bar glitter. I’m not the biggest fan of bar glitter in polishes, I don’t own too many. But I’ll give it a go, I think it would like nice over a black. Here one coat over Essence Jeans On!
Out of all these it’s hard to pick a favourite. I thought Twinkle Twinkle would be my favourite as I have a soft spot for rose gold but actually I think Nutcracker might be my fave. It’s a nice brighter take on a berry shade for this time of the year.
Sunday, December 18, 2016
So I’ve made two Colour of the Year posts this year. The first was my nail polish picks for the colours Rose Quartz and Serenity. The second post was the Essence Polish of the Year polish they brought out the shade Forgive Me for the Rose Quartz shade. I didn’t think they’d bring out one for Serenity but low and behold, when I was looking at the Essence stand the other I noticed that this polish, Jeans On!, had a Colour of the Year sticker on it! It would have been nice to have both Forgive Me and Jeans On! in the same post but this will have to do.
It’s a pretty shade and a good enough match for Serenity, more on the periwinkle side of blue than a baby blue which was key for a Serenity match.
While I kinda liked the idea of Rose Quartz and Serenity at the beginning of the year, half way through my interest fell. I had planned to do loads of nail looks with the colours but I just couldn’t motivate myself to do so. However the 2017 shade has been announced and it’s called Greenery. It’s a beautiful bright lushious green, I’m very excited about it. Also Butter London have brought out an official collaborative shade which is awesome! They also have 5 other Pantone shades and they’re all lovely looking. Buttercream is calling my name and Calypso Coral looks like a lovely coral shade (not that I need any more!).
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Essence The Little X-Mas Factory Nail Polishes in Meet Me Under the Mistletoe and Let’s Take an Elfie
Hello! So I showed some nail polishes I’ve acquired over the last month or so in my post two days ago and I’ve actually managed to take some swatch pictures of them! I know, shocking times. I have two polishes out of the Essence The Little X-Mas Factory limited edition collection. I picked up the green and the white polishes and there’s also a bright pink one and a gold one.
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe is a beautiful pine green, it’s a lovely colour for this time of the year. It’s not a colour I typically gravitate towards but something about this really caught my attention. I used two coats here.
Let’s Take an Elfie is a shimmery white polish. It kinda reminded me of a sparkly version of the icing on top of a Christmas cake! It’s a beautiful polish but I found it a bit difficult to work with. The 2nd coat would start to strip off part of the 1st coat and things ended up patchy. It was worth it in the end though! I can’t remember if I used two or three coats above. If you can get it to work ok for you, then two coats will be enough. But you might need three to make sure it’s fully opaque.
These two polishes are great additions to my Christmas polish collection. There’s a hand full of polishes I have that are perfect for this time of the year and these will be added to those. Let me know below what polishes you like to use this time of the year.
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Hello! So I was looking at the nail polish I’ve bought recently and realised I’ve managed to pick up a nice amount of new polishes and thought I’d show them on here. I’ve picked them up in Superdrug, Boots, Penneys, Claire’s Accessories and Dealz.
The first four polishes are Superdrug exclusives for Barry M. The first two, Nutcracker (the bright pink one) and Twinkle Twinkle (the rose gold one), are the two autumn/winter Superdrug exclusives (Boots have two as well). The next two, Gingerbread (warm bronzes) and Icicle (sparkly topcoat), were a free gift once you spent a certain amount on Barry M products. The Gelly Hi Shine is Blackforest, the first black Gelly from Barry M. I picked it up in Boots when I was buying something else and I had a voucher to use. The final one is Jingle Bells. It was the Superdrug autumn/winter exclusive for 2014, which I didn’t pick up at the time (I did get one of the Boots and the Tesco one) but when I saw this one in Dealz (Poundland) I snapped it up!
The first two polishes are from Essence and their Little X-Mas Factory limited edition colllection. There’s four polishes and I got Meet Me Under the Mistletoe (the green) and Let’s Take an Elfie (sparkly white). The other two polishes are a gold and bright pink. The next polish is a PS Nail Polish from Penneys/Primark in Burnt Orange which also describes the type of shade it is! I picked it up as it reminded me of Playing Koi by Essie, though I don’t think it’s a dupe. The next two are from China Glaze and I picked them up in Dealz. They are Mistletoe Kisses (green glitter) and Glistening Snow (silver glitter). Mistletoe Kisses is from the 2010 Holiday Collection and Glistening Snow is from the 2012 Holiday Collection. I picked up the Claire’s Liquid Metal in Rose Gold because there was an offer on that day and it was less than half price. Of course, just after my Essence Colour of the Year post with the Rose Quartz shade, they then brought out a blue one. This is called Jeans On! and it’s their pick for Serenity. Finally this PS Metals comes in a range of shades, this is the silver one. I have previously picked up the rose gold one too.
Phew! Lots of polishes, including some good scores from Dealz! It can pay to have a good root around every now and again. I have some posts planned to show off some of these but if you have any requests for swatches let me know in the comments below.
Monday, December 12, 2016
So October’s Reads was late going up because I had a cold. And November’s is late going up because I got round two of that cold! I hope that’s it gone and it doesn’t come back again. November was a quieter reading month than I thought it would be. I’m still getting through some books I started during the month and as I write this, I’ve only finished one book so far in December. Sickness has just sapped me of my interest to read. I did read more non-fiction in November, which I mentioned in this Non-Fiction November post.
Cheer Up, Love by Susan Calman
Susan Calman is a Scottish comedian and in this book she talks about her experiences with depression and anxiety. Susan characterises her depression as The Crab of Hate, sitting on her shoulder spitting out spiteful remarks. The book was interesting, I always find it interesting to read about other people’s experiences with depression and anxiety. Susan is very honest and at times I found myself nodding along in agreement. We find out about Susan’s life as well and some of her anecdotes were very funny. There’s lots of helpful advice too, though like every book I’ve read on mental health it isn’t the be all and end all. Susan’s view on depression is hers and the way she deals with her depression suits her and it isn’t for everyone. I enjoyed reading this and I look forward to seeing more from Susan Calman.
Danny Wallace and the Centre of the Universe by Danny Wallace
I love Danny Wallace books and I picked this up for one of the Book Riot Read Harder Challenges to read a book out loud. It’s under 100 pages and it was perfect to read to my boyfriend (we tried a longer book but he kept falling asleep and we weren’t getting anywhere with it!). This is a story where Danny goes to a town called Wallace in Idaho, who claimed they were the Centre of the Universe. Danny spends 24 hours in Wallace and it was an interesting enough story. I did find it very repetitive though in some of his sentences and phrases which I found really tiring when reading out loud. I don’t think it’s a must read if you’re a Danny Wallace fan, it’s really just a blog post or article stretched out to fit into a short story for a book.
A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers
I LOVED A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet when I read it in May. It was such an interesting and heartwarming story and when I found out there would be another book set in the same world coming out this year I couldn’t wait to read it. A Closed and Common Orbit follows two characters we briefly see in A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (we don’t see any of the main characters from that book). The story is told in the present, starting after the end of A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet as well as a flashback story of Pepper and how she grew up. I don’t want to say too much about the characters or story in case it gives anything in the first book away but the two storylines mirror each other at times before they merge into one. It was a beautiful story, I love love love this world and even though this is sci-fi and that might scare some people away, please give these books a chance! They are full of interesting characters and worlds and Chambers had me in tears several times reading this. I loved both the books and I can’t wait for the 3rd one (which is listed on Goodreads but I’m not sure if Chambers is writing one. I hope she is!). I can’t wait to reread these as well. Wonderful!
Mandela: An Audio History by Desmond Tutu
This is a short audiobook, just over an hour long. I listented to it on the train on the way home from the Bord Gais Energy Irish Book Awards. This is more like a documentary or podcast than a traditional audiobook, it has clips of people recounting their experiences during the time, speeches, radio and television reports and singing. It documents Mandela from his rise in popularity against apartheid, his trial and sentencing, what was going on politically at the time while he was in jail and his release in the 90s. Some of the elements I didn’t know about, like how school children protested at the introduction to Afrikaans as the language schools had to teach in and the brutality of the police at these protests was truly shocking. The book is beautifully produced and I love that we get to hear such things as Mandela’s speech at his trial which ends with his famous words ‘It is an ordeal for which I hope to live for and to see realised. But my lord, if it needs be, it is an ordeal for which I am prepared to die’. A short but powerful listen.
Christmas at the Little Village Bakery by Tilly Tennant
This book sees the return to Honeybourne, the small cosy village in Wiltshire. And it's Christmas time! The book picks up 10 months or so after the end of the last book and there's been some big changes. Millie and Dylan were the main focus for the first book and while they're in this book too, the main centre of the story is Spencer. We're also introduced to new characters in this book like Millie's cousin Darcie and Spencer's parents. Tilly does a great job of writing loving characters and setting the lovely cosy village of Honeybourne. It's a great Christmassy read too and you could possibly read this book as a festive read without reading the first one (though one or two references will be unexplained). Overall it was a fun festive read that I enjoyed. [NetGalley]
The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley
Kameron Hurley is a successful science-fiction and fantasy writer and this book is a collection of essays that centre around feminism, geek culture and Hurley’s experiences of being a genre writer. Having a read a few books on feminism this year, this was a different voice than the other books I read, especially the section of what it’s like being a woman within geek culture and writing speculative fiction. All the essays aren’t *just* about feminism, a lot of them are Hurley’s memoirs and own personal stories. And while there isn’t a lot of intersectionality, Hurley does address this, tries to be inclusive and admits that in the past she’s made mistakes about things and has always tried to correct herself when she has made mistakes which is a refreshing attitude. I was slow reading this (I started at the end of August so it took me 3 months to read) but I did enjoy it. I found myself reading an essay here and there when I had a spare moment. A lot of these essays can be found published online if you’d like to read some to decide if this book is for you. I’m looking forward to picking up some of Hurley’s fiction, any suggestions can be left in the comments below! [NetGalley]
Number of Books Read- 6
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 2:4
Number of eBooks- 2 (Christmas at the Little Village Bakery and The Geek Feminist Revolution)
Number of Audiobooks- 1 (Mandela: An Audio History)
Number of Books Borrowed from Library- 3 (Cheer Up, Love, Danny Wallace and the Centre of the Universe and A Closed and Common Orbit)
Book Riot Read Harder Challenge Completed
Listen to an audiobook that has won an Audie Award- Mandela: An Audio History
Read a book out loud to someone else- Danny Wallace and the Centre of the Universe
And that’s it! Just one more book to check off the Read Harder Challenge (read a food memoir. I have several listed on my TBR so I don’t know why I’ve been so slow on this one!). Hopefully I’ll read one. I want to finish the books I’m currently reading as well this month before I sit down to plan my reading resolutions and TBR for next year. Which I’m very excited about actually, seeing all the upcoming releases for next year!
Thursday, December 1, 2016
Hello! I have a few bad habits when it comes to this blog. One is buying nail polish with the intention of putting up swatches or nail art, taking the pictures but not putting tem up. The other is showing nail polish in a haul post and then never showing it in a later post. Today’s post combines both! I bought this in LA and showed it in my US Beauty Haul, got delayed in taking swatch pictures and then when I finally did forgot about posting it up!
Anyway! I wish Sinful Colors was easier to find over this side of the pond. All the Sinful Colors I have were sent to me from America, bought by myself over there or found in discount stores here. The Kylie Trends Mattes range was lovely, I especially liked Kitty Pink as it was so soft and luxurious looking. I wore it a lot recently as it was just so chic.
It can look a bit streaky because of the matte effect but with practice you can get it to look right. I’ve also heard of putting a glossy top coat over it to smooth everything out and then a matte top coat over that to get the matte effect again but that can be hard work. You can also just put a glossy top coat to a shiny effect which is also very pretty. This collection reminds me of the Essie Cashmere Matte collection, though having never tried any of the Essie polishes I can’t comment for sure on that. This polish is something I think I’ll be picking up more this winter as it’s matte finish really makes me think of cosy soft jumpers!
Monday, November 21, 2016
Hello! Last week I won the chance to go to the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards and had a fantastic time. The awards were on at the DoubleTree Hilton Hotel in Dublin and I was in the green room along with Chloe from Nurse Fancy Pants and the other competition winners. The awards were hosted in one hotel room, with all nominees, agents and industry people and then the winners were interviewed in the green room by Evelyn O’Rourke. We were really well looked after, we got a lovely buffet dinner, free drinks and a goodie bag too.
I have read three of the winning books: Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent which won The Ryan Tubridy Show Listeners’ Choice Award, The Trespasser by Tana French which won the Crime Fiction Book of the Year and Making It Up As I Go Along by Marian Keyes which won Popular Non-Fiction Book of the Year (I’ve also read two other nominated books: Flawed by Cecelia Ahern and All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan). Hearing the winning authors talk about their books was fantastic, I’ve added several more to my TBR like Holding by Graham Norton and The Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden (which I actually own a copy of thanks to the Penguin Ireland books I won earlier this year). After all the interviews were done we had a chance to mingle with everyone. Chloe and I managed to get briefly chat to Paul O’Connell and Graham Norton before getting pictures with them (they were probably the most in demand that night and also so lovely and patient!). And I also got to talk to Tana French who was just so nice, The Trespasser has genuinely been one of my favourite books this year and it was great to meet one of my favourite authors.
I had a such a lovely evening, it was great to finally meet Chloe and we only stopped talking to each other when we were busy drinking wine! Thanks Bord Gáis Energy for the chance to go, I had a fantastic time!
Friday, November 11, 2016
Hello! This post is late because unfortunately I got sick last week and while I tried to get blog posts done I just didn’t have the energy. October was a fantastic month, it’s always been a great month for me because of my birthday and Halloween. And this month was just as wonderful for me.
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
I decided to pick up Nimona because I was enjoying Stevenson’s Lumberjanes series. Nimona is a young shapeshifter who teams up with the villian Lord Blackheart. Even though Lord Blackheart is the villian, he still sticks to strict moral code, something Nimona is not intersted in. She just wants to wreak havoc and have fun doing it! With fun, dragons and science, will Lord Blackheart and Nimona prove that Sir Goldenloin and the Institute of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t all that they’ve been hyped up to be? Or will Nimona’s mysterious past and hot head ruin everything? This was lots of fun to read, Nimona is a flawed but kickass character and I hope to see more of her in the future.
Rat Queens Volume One: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch
At the end of last year I got this on NetGalley but for some reason my download wouldn’t work so I couldn’t read it. I eventually got it from the library though. As the back of the book puts it:
They’re a pack of booze guzzling, death dealing battle maidens-for-hire and they’re in the business of killing all the gods’ creatures for profit. Meet Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief
These ladies kick ass and aren’t afraid to fight, swear or drink. It’s really humorous and we get to see glimpses of some of the queens’ backstories. Violet is probably my favourite but they’re all fun! If you like RPG then I think you’ll like this too.
Heartless by Gail Carriger
Book 4 of the Parasol Protectorate series featuring Alexia Tarrabotti (and the first one I had to physically read as I had the audiobooks for the previous 3). I love this series, I have one book left and I’m half saving it as I don’t want the series to end. But there is the Custard Protocol series to start right after! I won’t say anything about this plot but if you like Victorian ladies, vampires and werewolves and sassy independent ladies then this might be a series for you!
Precious and Grace by Alexander McCall Smith
Book 17 in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, a series I’ve read for years now. It’s set in Botswana and while there are cases to be solved, this is defintely more in the cosy mystery side of things than hard hitting thrillers. While I do enjoy the series and the setting in Botswana, I am tiring a small bit of it. Grace can be quite rude and horrible and times and I wish Precious would tell her to cop on! But she’s too nice and understanding for that. I’m not sure if I will continue with this series, it’s gotten to the point where I get a bit angry at Grace and that I KNOW I’ll be angry with her at some stage in the book, even if she redeems herself. I’ll see in the future if I’ll pick them up.
French Rhapsody by Antoine Laurain
Alain is a middle aged GP in Paris who lives a pretty mundane life. Until one day he receives a letter that's thirty-three years late being delivered (due to Paris postal system losing it). The letter is from a record company offering The Holograms, Alain's band in the early 80s, a record deal. Alain no longer has a copy of their recording so he tries to contact some of the members of the band in hope that they'll still have a copy. We get to see all the other members of the band and paths their lives took after the band disbanded: an economist, an extreme right-wing politician, an antiques dealer, a sculpture artist and a hotel owner.
I read The President's Hat earlier this year and really enjoyed it. It's why I decided to read this book, which does have a similar wit and whim. I loved how the characters’ lives crossed paths and intertwined in The President's Hat and we get that again in French Rhapsody. We see how the lives of the characters have crossed each other's over the years since the band split. It was interesting to see the changes to all the characters and they were a mixed lot! While the book opens with Alain, he's clearly not the centre of this book. JBM, the economist, is the main focus of this book. I suppose Alain is the catalyst for the story though, gets the whole ball rolling. While I didn't dislike this book, I did find it lacking slightly. The charm and sweetness in The President's Hat isn't to be found here and half way through this book I did start feeling a bit blah about the story. However it picked up again and definitely redeemed itself. It was a quick read too and I think I'll pick up The Red Notebook in the future. [NetGalley]
The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch
I have been eagerly waiting this book for so long! The Hanging Tree is book 6 in the Rivers of London series. I read books 1-4 November 2013, book 5 (Foxglove Summer) in November 2014 and I’ve wanted this book ever since then.
Rivers of London series is an urban fantasy set in London. It follows PC Peter Grant, who is doing a night shift at the scene of a vicious beheading when he speaks to the only witness to the crime- a ghost. From there Grant is introduced to DCI Nightingale and he discovers there’s a whole magical division to the police force. The series has a whole slew of different characters such as River Goddesses, demigods and jazz vampires. There’s also the mysterious Faceless man, a rogue magician who taunts Peter and Nightingale.
Book 4 left some things unanswered and they remained unanswered in book 5 which made things a bit frustrating! I do think this book answers some, if not most, of the questions but I do think I could have done with rereading some things to refresh my memory. I had forgotten so much and it wasn’t until I read something in this book that my memory was refreshed and I remembered the previous books. I really enjoyed this, I enjoyed returning to Peter and his world. It was fun and full of action and I’m already looking forward to the next one! [NetGalley]
Rat Queens Volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe, Roc Upchurch, Stjepan Sejic and Ed Brisson
Volume 2 in the Rat Queen series, more drinking, more fighting, more of these ladies kicking ass! This time we find out more about Dee, the cleric, and her past. I’m enjoying this series so far and hope to continue it in the future.
Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood
Hag-Seed is Margaret Atwood’s take on Shakespeare’s The Tempest, as part of the Hogarth Shakespeare series. I did a full review earlier last month which you can check out here. It’s by far my favourite of the Hogarth Shakespeare series (I only just liked Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler and I tried to read Shylock is My Name by Howard Jacobson but really didn’t get into it). I liked this, I found it witty and clever and I really liked the setting. [Blogging For Books]
All We Shall Know by Donal Ryan
This was one of the October Book of the Month for the Rick O’Shea bookclub, which already has a lot of Donal Ryan fans. Despite hearing a lot about him, this is the first book of his that I read. Melody Shee is tutoring 17 year old Martin Toppy, son of a famous Traveller and she falls pregnant with his baby. She tells her husband that she cheated on him with someone from the internet. He takes the news badly and leaves her all alone. She doesn’t want to tell her father as he is a good man and doesn’t want to break his heart. Melody goes to visit Martin Toppy one day, only to find his family has moved on. Instead Melody starts an unlikely friendship with young Traveller Mary Crothery, who has her own problems.
This book was beautifully written, Ryan just nails Melody’s character so well. She’s got a wicked bad temper, in a toxic marriage and isn’t that nice a person most the time. But the way Ryan writes her means at times we do soften towards her and hope that she can work through her demons and things in past. He writes about ordinary things but does it with such poignancy. At one stage he describes Melody’s father and it just brought tears to my eyes! This is probably one of my favourites from this year and look forward to picking up more of Donal Ryan’s work in the future. [NetGalley]
Number of Books Read- 9
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 9:0
Number of eBooks- 5 (Heartless, French Rhapsody, The Hanging Tree, Hag-Seed and All We Shall Know)
Number of Books Borrowed from Library- 4 (Rat Queens Volume 1 and 2, Nimona, Precious and Grace)
Woeful non-fiction result, I have been midreading two non-fiction books that hopefully I’ll finish this month and also with Non-Fiction November I’ll read a few non-fiction books this month! I also need to concentrate on my Book Riot Read Harder challenge. I have three left so I need to get my skates on and get those read!
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Hello! So last month I listed my Autumn Wishlist and mentioned that I wanted to knit some pumpkins. I had a look around online and picked a few different patterns to try out.
The first pumpkin I tried was this mini one using DK yarn. It’s from Curly Purly and I liked it but I should have maybe stuffed it more as I’d have liked it to look more defined.
Next up I did this yellow pumpkin using some chunky wool (left over from a Gryffindor scarf I made for Sharon from Behind Green Eyes). I used the Autumn Pumpkins pattern from Jan Lewis on Ravelry. I liked this one, especially because I could use my circular needles with the chunky wool.
Next I knit this big chunky pumpkin, which is probably my favourite because it’s such a chunkster! I used some super chunk yarn that Sarah from Cashmere and Clouds gave me (and that I used before to make a pumpkin hat for my baby cousin). I used the Great Pumpkin by Rebecca Fox pattern found on Ravelry.
Finally I did this small white one using DK yarn, using no particular pattern, incorporating a few of the elements from above. I liked how it gave a bit of brightness and colour!
I meant to knit one or two more but haven’t gotten around to it. Though I might over this weekend, they are pretty fast to knit up, especially if you use chunky yarn. You could definitely get a a few done before Halloween! These are great to bust out for autumn season and if you celebrate Thanksgiving you can keep them around the place after Halloween for that. They’re quite addictive to knit, I’ll have a massive pile of them for next year!
Friday, October 28, 2016
On Wednesday it was my birthday and I couldn’t resist doing some cute birthday nails. I took inspiration for the cupcake from this nail look by 25 Sweetpeas and the confetti from this nail look by With Love Karissa . Here’s my take!
I’m just so in LOVE with these nails! I love the ‘ice cream shades’ used (what I like to call pastel nail colours), it’s something so bright and fun especially for this time of the year. Here’s the cast of characters I used to create this look.
Background- Essence in Sweet As Candy
Yellow Confetti- No. 7 in Lemon Drop
Purple Confetti and Cupcake Base- Essence in Hello Marshmallow!
Pink Confetti and Cupcake Cherry- 17 in Miami
Mint Confetti- Essence in That’s What I Mint!
Blue Confetti- 17 in Azure Amore
Cupcake Frosting- Models Own Hyper Gel in White Light
Cupcake Base Details- Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine in Guava
I also used Barry M Nail Art Pen in Pink for the sprinkles
I might just have to do this again next year as I love it so much. Could be my go to birthday mani!
Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Hag-Seed is Margaret Atwood's take on The Tempest for the Hogarth Shakespeare series. You don't need to know anything about The Tempest to read it and enjoy it. It starts off with Felix, renowned art director of the Makeshiweg Festival who is known to put on eccentric shows and focuses solely on the artistic side of things, leaving the day to day running to right-hand man Tony. He's about the put on The Tempest, something that has helped him cope with the grief of losing his wife and his three year old daughter Miranda, when Tony stages a coup and has Felix ousted.
Felix goes off grid, living in a shack along with his daughter Miranda who continues to grow in imaginary form as the years go on. He continues to keep an eye on Tony and those who've betrayed him, keeping track of their successes and how this might help him with his revenge. Wondering if he’s going a bit dotty because he talks to and plays chess with Miranda, he eventually applies to teach a literacy programme at a correctional facility under the name Mr Duke. He finally has a chance to put on his Tempest as well as get his revenge but will he be able to pull it off?
This is my 3rd of the Hogarth Shakespeare series I've read and it's probably my favourite so far! I love that Felix's story mimics The Tempest but with the inmates also putting on The Tempest we have two types of the Tempest happening at the same time, a play within a play. These different layers come together in the end which makes things even more interesting. It a unique idea, something I thought Atwood pulled off well. The inmates were believable and I loved the fact that they could only swear using words that Shakespeare uses in the text! The writing itself was witty and I wished I could also read other novels about the inmates putting on other Shakespeare plays! The only thing I wasn't too gone on was how the revenge came about. I won't spoil it but I just didn't find it very believable. But I suppose with it being a Shakespeare text that has a magical element to it it doesn’t need to be wholly believeable! I didn't connect that well with Felix either. I didn’t dislike him, I just didn’t relate to him much. But I did feel for him, especially when it came to him dealing with his grief. Overall though it was a funny read that's touching and dark in places and a smart take on Shakespeare.
I received this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my mine!
Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Hello! So I was watching Jen Campbell’s video the other day about her Non-Fiction November Recommendations and TBR and apparently the whole idea of Non-Fiction November skipped by me last year as this year is the 2nd year it’ll be running. It’s run by Olive at A Book Olive and Gemma at Non Fic Books. The idea is to get people reading one more non-fiction book than they usually would in a month. So if you don’t read any, to read one. If you usually pick up one, try for two. And so on. Now I’m usually quite good at reading non-fiction, on average 30% of what I read each year is usually non-fiction. But I have been slacking big time this year and I don’t know why. I just haven’t felt like picking up non-fiction all that much. I don’t want to force myself to read something I’m not feeling but I’m hoping to be inspired!
There’s 4 categories Olive and Gemma have picked and you can pick one, you can try all four, you can double or triple them up to complete them, it’s up to you! I’m going to list each category and a few books I have on my big TBR that I might pick up next month to read.
So the New category can be interpreted as a brand new release, a newly hauled book or a topic that is new to you that you don’t know much about. Above I have Hygge: A Celebration of Simple Pleasures. Living the Danish Way by Charlotte Abrahams and Dear Lupin: Letters to a Wayward Son by Roger Mortimer and Charlie Mortimer, two books I showed in my recent haul post. I also have H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, a book I’ve had for a while now but it’s about Helen trying to train a goshawk and I know nothing about that! (it also deals with Helen grieving after her died). But seeing as it’s my birthday this week I might pick up another book too!
So the Controversial category is anything that has a difficult or controversial topic (something that might spark a big debate or split a room), it can be about a controversial historical figure or it can have a weird eye catching title or cover. I have Julie and Julia by Julie Powell, a book that I’ve seen a lot of bad reviews for and seems to really split people (and I need to read a food memoir for my Book Riot Read Harder Challenge). Severed by Frances Larson is about the ‘history of heads lost and heads found’. If I was reading this in public I can imagine it would turn some heads (yeah I couldn’t resist that pun!). Speaking of eye catching titles Sex on the Moon by Ben Mezrich is definitely ones that makes you wonder what the book is about! It’s about a guy who convinces his girlfriend, an intern at NASA, to steal moon rocks. This also fits this category because I’ve seen mixed reviews for it as well.
The Important category is something that you think will help you enhance your life, whether that’s your work, your health or something you’ve wanted to work more on (being more organised/losing weight/being more spiritual etc). It can also be on a topic that you think needs to be discussed more or something that will make you a more educated citizen. I’m currently reading The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley and if I don’t finish it this month I hope I will in November. Reading more about feminism is something that’s really interested me this year and I’ve been enjoying reading about feminism from different viewpoints and intersectionalities. The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer is something I’ve seen discussed on BookTube a lot and I really think it could be helpful to me. Finally another topic I like reading and learning more about is mental health and how other people cope with depression and axiety. Cheer Up Love by Susan Calman is supposed to be funny and interesting and the idea of calling your depression your Crab of Hate has intrigued me!
The final category is Fascinating. Of course all the books above sound interesting to me but this is for any books, authors or topics you find really engaging and interesting. The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell is something I’m currently listening to at the moment so if it’s not finished this month I will finish it next month. I’ve read Stevyn Colgan’s book Joined-Up Thinking before and bought Constable Colgan’s Connect-O-Scope on Kindle ages ago so I might finally get around to it! And The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale is another book I’ve had for ages (October 2013 to be precise!) and it’s about a family who wake up one morning to find one member has been murdered and Mr Whicher from Scotland Yard has been sent to investigate.
Those are my picks! I don’t know how many of them I’ll get around to but going through my big TBR and chosing these books has made me excited again to pick up non-fiction! I have a mix above that are physical books I own, e-books, audiobooks and books from the library too. I know next year I’ll be trying to read more of my own books in an attempt to get through them so this has been helpful at sparking my interest that way too.
If you’re interested in doing the Non-Fiction November in any shape or form let me know what you plan on reading! Or if you’ve read any of the books below tell me, I’d love to know what you thought of them.
Friday, October 21, 2016
Hello! So I’ve done pumpkin nails before but I had it in my head to do pumpkin nails similiar to the strawberry and pineapple nails I did in my Tutti Fruity look. The three ways are with a shiny top coat, with a matte top coat and as an accent nail.
Shiny Top Coat
Matte Top Coat
To do the nails, I used a small dotting tool. For each pumpkin I did two dots slightly overlapping to try and make the pumpkin shape. I then used a small brush to paint on the yellow for definition and to add stems in green. After I had done the nails with a shiny top coat I wanted to see what it was like matte, which I liked so much more! My favourite is probably the accent nail though, I loved the shiny orange polish on the other nails.
White- Model’s Own Hyper Gel in White Light
Orange-Catrice Ultimate Nail Lacquer in MAN, GO Tango
Yellow- NYC Quick Dry Nail Polish in Lexington Yellow
Green- Wet N Wild Spoiled in Permission To Proceed (ES040)
Shiny Orange- Rimmel Cocktail Colour in a Flash in Shirley Temple
Shiny Top Coat- Catrice Quick Dry and High Shine Top Coat
Matte Top Coat- Wet N Wild Matte Top Coat
With still over a week left before Halloween I hope to have one or two more nail looks up before then. I still have loads of ideas rattling around in my head!
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Hello! I love autumn themed nail looks. Reds, oranges, yellows are so nice together, jewel tones come back in and then there’s Halloween. So many different looks you can do. I did an Autumn Blaze look 2 years ago and I still love it. So I wanted to do something with a similar colour scheme.
For the base I used SoSu Nail Polish in Icing on the Cake. The yellow was by La Femme Beauty (I can’t find any name or number for it but it the bottle I’m holding), the orange is Catrice in MAN, GO Tango and the red is Revlon in Frankly Scarlet. The red has a slight shimmer to it which I really liked but couldn’t pick up on the camera.
Monday, October 10, 2016
Hello! Another monthly reading roundup for you. I read 8 books in September, which I’m pretty happy with as there were times when I did not want to read. Not quite a reading slump but I did feel a bit meh at times.
Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven
You might recoognise the name Jennifer Niven. Her last book was All the Bright Places, something I haven’t read yet (it was out of stock when I last ordered it). But I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, which is why I requested Holding Up the Universe on NetGalley. Libby has had a tough few years. After her mother died, Libby gained a lot of weight, which ended with her having to be lifted out of her house with a crane and be dubbed America's Fattest Teen. After being home schooled for years, Libby has lost some weight and is ready to go back to school. Jack has a condition that makes him 'face blind', meaning that he can never recognise people by just their face, not even his family. Jack gets by with tricks he's picked up over the years and is one of the popular guys in school. Jack won't tell anyone of his problem, believing if people know they'll target his weakness, so he keeps quiet (despite it getting him trouble at times). When a big event happens in school, Jack and Libby get thrown together and they must learn to get on.
I did enjoy this book, it was interesting. I found myself rooting for Libby and Jack as they were both on personal journeys. Libby has had a tough time but she's still strong and is determined to get her life back on track. I wasn't overly gone on the romantic element of the book, I felt like the book didn't really need it. I was just pleased that Libby and Jack could help each other. The book tackles important issues like bullying and how social media can play into this and has a strong message of being able to love and accept yourself. [NetGalley]
Changeless by Gail Carriger
Changeless is book two in the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. I read Soulless in May as an audiobook and I was going to read this book as a physical copy. But for some reason the library wasn’t shipping it out so I requested the audio CD version instead. And I was glad I listened to it again as I enjoy Emily Gray’s narration. We continue on with the life of Alexia Tarabotti, set in a steampunk supernatural Victorian London. I am loving this series and setting, Carriger is so witty and fun and Alexia is a fantastic character.
The Dark Tourist by Dom Joly
I love the idea of the this book, going on holiday to unusual places. In this book Dom Joly goes to places that are unusual (Chernobyl and North Korea for example) as well as doing things that are unusual or a bit dark (such as skiing in Iran and going to assassination sites in USA). The book is accessible to read and interesting (I tried to read book like this before and it was so heavy and serious). Joly probably spent the most time in North Korea so that chapter is chock full of information and is fascinating and slightly depressing too. I enjoyed the American side of things too. Having read Assassination Vacation in January I got to see all the sites of the US Presidental Assassinations bar JFK (because the author felt it was too close in modern history) so it was interesting to see Joly go to Dallas and round out my experience of Assassination Vacation. This book is six years old though, so it felt ever so slightly out of date (but not by any means outdated).
Blameless by Gail Carriger
Book 3 in the Parasol Protectorate series. I won’t say much about it but if you do plan on reading this series DO NOT look up any synopsis for this book!! It will spoil book 2 for you. You’ve been warned. I also listened to this book which I wish I could do for the rest of the series but alas the library doesn’t have them in audio form. These books were what kept me going reading wise for the month, if I didn’t have them I probably would have got stuck in a slump.
The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
Lo Blacklock has been given the chance of a lifetime at work. She's been asked to cover the press launch of a new luxury boutique cruise ship of the Arctic and Northern Lights. This could be the thing that helps elevate her career to the next level. A few days before she's due to leave, she's the victim of a traumatic break-in that leaves her a wreck and threatens to ruin her relationship. This cruise is just what she needs to make her feel safe and let her relax. On the first night Lo is convinced a murder has happened in the cabin next door but when she informs cabin staff they tell her no one was in that cabin. But Lo knows there was someone in there, she met her and she gave Lo mascara. Lo feels like she's going mad but she's determined to get to the bottom of this issue.
The book did take a while to pick up, I didn't really get into the story until I was about 20% through. I wasn’t that interested in picking it up. But once I did start again I read it on one go! The story did grip me, it was tense and having an unreliable character like Lo as the narrator added to the mystery. She drinks a lot, is on medication for anxiety and is clearly still suffering for the break in at her flat, so we don't know how much she is imagining and how much is actually true. She reminded me a lot of Rachel in The Girl on the Train, in fact the book has that kind of vibe at times. The end seemed a bit rushed and it ended up being a bit muddled. If you liked The Girl on the Train then I think you'll enjoy this book too. [NetGalley]
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
Eleanor Flood vows today will be better. She's going to be a better version of herself. But today does not start well for her. She's called to her son Timby's school as he's not feeling well and after she's collected him, they go to her husband's workplace. Only to discover that he's not there and his colleagues are surprised to see Eleanor back early. Eleanor must find her husband and all sorts of shenanigans happen. We learn more about Eleanor's past as well with flashback scenes.
I loved Where'd You Go Bernadette so I was looking forward to this book. The fact that it's all set in one day added to my excitement as I enjoy stories like that. The story doesn't really work like that though, there’s a lot of flashbacks to Eleanor's past and when you take all that out, nothing much happens on this 'crazy' day. The madcap element just felt very forced, like craziness for the sake of craziness and I didn't enjoy the humour this time round. The flashbacks also confused me at the beginning, mainly because it goes from Eleanor talking in the present time in the 1st person to the flashback happening in the third person. The book was a fast read but I was just looking forward to getting it finished and over it. There's nothing big wrong with this book, it just wasn't one for me. [NetGalley]
We Were on a Break by Lindsey Kelk
Liv and Adam are on holiday in Mexico and Liv is on the edge of her seat. She knows Adam plans to propose and tonight must be the night as they fly home the next day. But when no ring is produced and Adam causes a big scene on the flight home, Liv is left wondering what has happened to their relationship all the way home. Things take a turn for the worse when Adam drops Liv off at her house and says that he wants to take a break. The book follows the couple over the next few weeks while they try and navigate this new territory and work out what they want from relationship.
The book is told with Liv and Adam both taking turns to be narrators, which I liked. I felt like it gave a fair observation of the relationship and the break. I liked the main characters, though at times I did want to just knock their heads together to stop them from getting their wires crossed!! Liv's friend Cass is married to Adam's brother which I felt added a nice layer of complication to the whole thing, as it can be hard to separate out friends and family when a couple splits and we get to see this a small bit in the story. Add to all this is the usual Kelk humour (I definitely laughed out loud a few times) and you get a light hearted funny romantic comedy. [NetGalley]
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
The Girl with All the Gifts was one of the September picks for the Rick O’Shea Book Club. I had actually bought it last year so it was perfect. I don’t know what to say about this book that doesn’t spoil things. I went into this not knowing that much and I think that’s the best thing for this book. The book starts with Melanie, a 10 year old who sits in her cell on a base waiting to go to class. Before she can leave the cell, she’s strapped into her chair all while Sergeant Parks points a gun at her. Melanie love school, especially when it’s Miss Justineau is teaching. And thinks Dr Caldwell, the scientist, is scary and doesn’t like her, especially because other kids have never come back after seeing Dr Caldwell. An interesting, fast read, I liked Melanie. Dr Caldwell is a good villain. I felt the ending felt a bit flat for me but it didn’t ruin the overall story. It’s not something I’d usually read but I glad I gave it a chance and branched out!
Number of Books Read- 8
Ratio fiction to non-fiction- 7:1
Number of eBooks- 4 (Holding Up the Universe, The Woman in Cabin 10, Today Will Be Different and We Were On a Break)
Number of Books Borrowed from Library- 2 (Changeless and Blameless)
Audiobooks- 2 (Changeless and Blameless)
Book Riot Challenge Completed
Read a Horror Book- The Girl with All the Gifts
And that’s September. I need to step up my non-fiction reads, but I’m not going to force it either. I’m just glad I managed to read just one this month! If you’ve read any of these books or if you’re interested in reading any of these then leave a comment below.